Friday, December 24, 2004

December 24
It has been very cold--freezing at night and only in the fifties during the day. Two days ago an oriole (I think a Scott's) tried to feed from the hum feeder outside my office window. Unfortunately, it was one of the feeders that doesn't allow anyone with a short beak in. The oriole flew at the window, then flew away, but I immediately put out the old oriole feeder, and I hope he will be back. Or maybe he has been, but I just haven't seen him. He was gorgeous, extremely yellow, and much bigger than the woodpeckers, so the kittens went nuts.

No other new birds to report. Still plenty of Anna's hummers--I'm not sure how many, but perhaps half a dozen. The silly sparrows and finches are bathing in the pond as we speak. You'd think it would be way too cold, but they seem to love it--then fly up into the Texas Ranger and fluff themselves in the sun. I am so privileged to get to observe this. I gave the birds more bugnuts as a Christmas present.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

December 7, 2004

I've had a mob of cardinals and pyrrhuloxias lately, making a mess of the porch but really enjoying the sunflower seeds in the feeder. Yesterday I got a good look at a small one, and confirmed that it is a juvenile pyrrhyloxia--its beak is grayish rather than yellow. I guess they all learn to use the feeder by watching each other.

Then this morning my beautiful hawk returned! Since my last post, I have learned that it is an accipiter, probably a Cooper's, and almost certainly a female. The accipiters have reverse sexual dimorphism for size; the males are quite small and the females are huge. Anyway, whatever she is, she came back. She first landed in the pond, then almost immediately flew up to the fence, this time with her back to me. I was unable to see her legs, but assume it’s the same bird.

This time I could see that the tail was definitely rounded, which according to my bird book is indicative of a Cooper’s. She still doesn’t have a black cap. I got a better and longer look at her eyes. They’re not exactly red, more of a dark orangish-brown. She seems to be able to turn her head nearly 360 degrees, and the look in her eyes is so intelligent and fierce it’s scary. What a privilege to watch such a beautiful, wild creature so close-up!