As the seasons change, so to does the variety of birds in our backyard. Oklahoma is a stopover for many species and, over time, you begin to expect certain return guests. This year, it seems, the guest list has been changing as rapidly as the weather. So, in this Second Spring of 2019 (or is it Third Winter?), we are seeing some interesting activity.
With the onset of winter, we typically see select waterfowl in the pond and specific species at the feeder. The waterfowl adjust a little bit by water depth. We get shovelers when it is shallow and divers when it stays deep. Canada Geese are a given in any year. At the feeder, we usually see several types of sparrows, juncos, and cardinals. A few others make their appearance, but these make up the bulk of our avian visitors.
This year the cardinals have been in full force. I have counted as many as fifteen at one time between our feeder and the tall willow in our neighbor’s yard. Sparrows have been plentiful. Juncos have made their appearance, but it seems their numbers were not as large as in the past. We briefly had a couple of blue jays, a bird I had not seen in our backyard in our dozen years here. For the past several weeks, the goldfinches have been enjoying a feast in our yard. I imagine that, as seasons change further, they will soon leave us.
The quick snap at the top of this post shows an unusual intersection of birds that I had not seen until this year. I am not used to seeing the redwing blackbirds in the winter and certainly not with cardinals and goldfinches. Just out of frame, there was a house finch, too.
Bird-watching has been a very lazy hobby for me over the years. It is a good day when I can remember the species by name unless they are particularly interesting birds to me. Sparrows are a good case in point. “His eye is on the sparrow” but mine is on the cardinal. There are simply too many of the one and, until this year, too few of the other.
In other ways, I feel that the seasons are changing as well. I just hope that, like these birds, we can find ways to satisfy ourselves with our humble piece of the world. We don’t have to be all things to all people. All people do not need to be all things to us, either.