Friday, December 25, 2009

A Pileated Woodpecker has arrived!

I think it was right after we moved here, in 1975: A Pterodactyl-size (or so it seemed at the time) woodpecker flew noisily over the property, traveling east to west, and absolutely commanding our attention. I had never seen a bird quite like it, and I didn't see one again until about 30 years later, when two fellow wedding guests and I dashed away before the vows were spoken in order to photograph a Pileated Woodpecker that had been spotted across the lawn.

And now, this winter, a Pileated visits my suet feeder every day, several times a day. I wonder when I'll get used to him; I wonder when I'll stop rushing to get my camera. It's hard to tell from the photo, but this bird is the size of a crow.

In the almost 40 years I've been feeding wild birds, more have left than have arrived. I would love to see and hear Evening Grosbeaks again. I'd love it if Rufous-Sided Towhees would come back to kick leaves around, and Bohemian Waxwings once again treated me to the experience of seeing them pass Cardinal Autumn Olive berries to one another. A migrating flock of Redpolls once landed on me simply because they saw Chickadees and Evening Grosbeaks doing the same. I haven't seen them since. I miss all these birds. They all brought life and color and their distinctive sounds to the property. When I tell people I love living close to nature, it is the birds I think of first.

But the House Wren that disappeared more than five years ago came back to sing and raise babies on my porch this past spring, and now a Pileated Woodpecker has a serious suet addition. The sheer size of him must count for something. These things give me hope.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

If you just found this blog.........

.......after hearing about it at tonight's reading, here's my promise to write in it more often. I was going to promise to try to write in it more often, but we all know what happens to those kinds of promises. Anyway, thanks for finding me!