All-the-time birds

2006 January 7
by David J. Ringer

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — “Ordinary” birds are far more colorful than we give them credit for. I’m working at home today — the first Saturday I’ve been home in a month or more. Proposals are due Monday, and I’m looking at people and lands from far across the sea. But the birds outside keep me anchored in my own time and place.

The cock robin has left the perch where he sat for long minutes, silently looking around. His deeply colored breast feathers had delicate fringes of white. His head was quite black, and his throat was streaked with white. His bill almost glowed, even in the shade, but it cooled to black near the tip.

A house sparrow had one pure white flight feather. It was nestled among the others, which were black and brightly edged with brown.

Yellow-rumps’ sides gleamed like beacons, and the glinting, fiery blue of the jays almost took my breath away. They pinned morsels against twigs with capable feet, and they pounded them with strong, hooked bills.

But they’ve all moved on for the moment, and only the distant roar of jets wafts through my slightly open window. That, and a gentle breeze. I should be getting back to work….

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  5. Black birds, gray day
2 Responses
  1. Lynn permalink
    January 7, 2006

    And I thought it was just my ignorance and inexperience that made me love to take a longer look at the birds I see all the time. The way you describe them also helps me learn observation skills.

  2. vicki permalink
    January 9, 2006

    Reading The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner- great book! And as odd as it seems, here’s the weather report for Ann Arbor, MI: 36F, mostly cloudy, 76% humidity, winds 8 mph WNW, and most importantly! the barometric pressure is 30.16 and rising. Have a great day!

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