I've always loved birds but have never wanted to be a bird watcher, someone in sensible shorts
with binoculars around the neck. As I've learned more about Ira Gabrielson and the extensive bird lists he kept throughout his life, though, I've begun jotting down the birds I see at the winter feeder.
It's easy to spot the cardinals, bluebirds and jays, and the Audubon Field Guide to North American Birds
has helped me identify the others. The black-and-white-striped bird with a red-streaked head, the one that clings expertly to the deck pilaster, is a hairy woodpecker. But wait, there's another, smaller bird, quite similar but without the red streak. I consult the bible. Ah, I see, it's a female
There was another bird that had me stumped until yesterday. A sweet little thing with a gray body and white breast that enjoys both the thistle and the other feed. At first I thought nuthatch, then a vireo. Yesterday, with the bible's help, I solved the mystery. It's a junco. Of course. I had identified juncos a couple years ago but had forgotten some key details.
I'm a long way from scientific. Will never spend hours in the muck waiting for a glimpse of a yellow-bellied sapsucker. But I am starting to pay closer attention to our feathered friends. Am I a bird watcher yet? I hope not. Just call me a bird noticer.
(Bluebird enjoying the suet block.)