Last week Tyee Bridge wrote The Wisdom of Birds in Swerve magazine. It’s an in-depth look at the joys of bird-watching in Calgary and how to get started.
Like Tyee, I’m an amateur bird-watcher and an even more amateur photographer of wildlife. Still, I’m amazed at the joy these feathered friends bring me on days when I can get out in nature and walk amongst them.
There are many days I can’t go to them. Blissfully, they still come to see me. What follows are a few photos of feathered friends that stop by to visit.
I keep a few bird feeders full all winter for this reason. I planted a crabapple tree outside of my kitchen window for this reason.
I can be having a fairly glum winter’s day and then, there they are, chirping and chick-a-dee-dee-deeing their way into my consciousness and uplifting it with every sweet note.
Some birds are fairly common like the redpoll above. Some I was surprised to find like the American Goldfinches below.
I haven’t been able to catch a photo of the Blue Jay who pops by so swiftly, or the Northern Flicker but I did catch this little Downy Woodpecker.
I saw a pair of Bald Eagles in what I think was a mating dance last January near the Elbow River. They hooked talons and spun, falling, falling, falling through the air till they were dangerously near the earth. It was beautiful to watch and my mind has kept the image permanently etched in my brain.
One day, I walked into a whole thicket filled with Pine Grosbeaks. They were lovely. No camera. Just me and a few hundred of them finding what they could in the low bushes along the river. I won’t forget them either.
Recently, I took my dog out for a quiet walk in the December dusk and came upon the most masterfully built of all birds. I can’t say for sure but I think it was a Great Grey Owl. I whipped my iPhone out of my pocket but the photos are not good. The dog scared this beauty away. It went silently, swiftly and effortlessly.
And now, I must slip into my own day…the same way. Off to savour it all and be grateful for little winged things.