Fall is a great time to watch birds

I caught Crow flying home as the moon hung low over my house.

I got a picture of Crow on his way home yesterday evening.

Fall is bird time, there are so many birds in my yard this time of year. They are especially active and loud at sunrise and sunset. I tried to take a picture of all the birds in my trees last night but all I got was solitary crow, flying home hellbent-for-leather. 

Where do birds go at night? They disappear as the bats come out, not a peep, not a chirp all night, but as soon as the sky starts to lighten in the East, they begin to titter all around my house, and as the sun comes up over Jane’s tree, they suddenly seem to be everywhere again.

The best time to watch is in the evening, when they are going about their bedtime routine. Last night as I watched the moon climb up onto my roof, the busy birds were chattering and flittering around the trees, seemed to be searching for a bedtime snack. Phoebe is especially busy at this time – work-work-work – as she jumps from the various branches of trees, to my clothesline poles, to the tv antenna (one of her favorite perches), snapping at bugs. I watched her have an especially lively chase after a fluttery moth – work-work-working very loudly until she got the bug – SNAP! 

Then I noticed Nuthatch, a bird I don’t see every day, running across the clothesline pole and into the oak tree above. Nuthatches are cool little buggers, they have a specialized claw on the back of their foot that allows them to run down as well as up a tree trunk. They work the wrinkly bark on the oak and walnut trees, looking for elusive bugs. It has to take a lot of bugs to stay alive, Phoebe and Nuthatch are always busy.

Hummer works too but seems to take little breaks to look around and enjoy his surroundings. He has found some late blossoms on the pink powder puff tree, and makes regular stops at my blue sage plants. He often comes over to where we are working, as if curious, staring into our eyes for a few seconds, then gone!

The blue jays are busy this time of year hiding nuts. They crack me up, I sit and watch them a lot. A jay will come along with a big acorn, and hop around the yard as though he is looking for something special. Here and there he tries to shove his acorn into the ground, but it won’t go. When he finally finds a spot he makes a big production of putting it into the ground, then tamping it down, then, always, he finds a little piece of leaf or walnut shell or even a tiny stone, and pats it down over the spot, like Carl putting his ice scraper over that pile of cash in the snow.

Sometimes I like to make some noise as Jay is finishing his job – he’ll look right at me, look at the spot where he buried his acorn, and get a funny look on his face. Then, 9 out of 10 times,  he’ll dig that acorn right back up and hop around the yard, as if I can’t seem him, then bury it somewhere else, right in front of me. I used to think blue jays were boring, annoying birds, but now I think they are the most interesting birds in my yard. 

As I sit here the sky is lightening in the East, Venus is very bright, and I think I can see Jupiter and Saturn out there too, not sure. Here’s an interesting article from Night Sky:

http://www.nightskyinfo.com/

Fall is a great time to be outside. 

 

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