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bird on a wire

bow2s.jpg bows1.jpg [You can see the full size versions of these photos at the gallery] I've been spending a little time each day with the new camera; the learning curve on this thing is daunting. But far be it from me to read the book. I'd rather learn by doing. Pushing buttons, dialing numbers, whatever it takes. Today I ventured outside to take in the glory of spring. The birds were out in full force. Normally, I'm not a big fan of the birds that hang out around here. But when you have a camera in your hand, you look at things in a different way. I don't know much about these birds that live here except there must be about twenty different species that commune in my yard. I've seen sparrows, dirty pigeons, doves, screeching seagulls, nasty crows and the occasional hawk. The rest of them, save the one single cardinal that keeps evading my lens, I'm not sure what they are. They gather on the wires during the day and they talk. All these different languages, yet they seem to communicate so well with each other. There are chirps and squeals and squawks and song. Some let out short little bursts of sound, others let their music linger in their throats. They hang in the trees, rest on the wires, run across the lawn in search of crumbs and dive bomb into the bushes when a passing car frightens them. They fight with the squirrels in what can only be described as a heated verbal exchange. I know they are fighting because the squirrels always get up on their hind legs and - I swear - throw up gang signs with their little paws. All these things and more are just distracting me from my task at hand (still packing), but it's worth the break every once in a while.


I believe the one on the right is a Mourning Dove. I like them because they don't make a racket.

I live in the "birdiest" county in the U.S. -- officially. Monterey County just won the 11th-annual bird-a-thon, sponsored by the American Bird Association. I'm going to do a blog post about this. Dozens of bird watchers (every bit the cliche -- think Miss Hathaway on Beverly Hillbillies) go out and compete to locate the most species of birds in a 24-hour period. So, I had all of these strange folks with binoculars roaming around in the woods behind my house all day.

I actually have a California Condor that sits in a pine tree in my neighbor's yard. But, it always takes off before I can get my camera.

Mourning Doves are very neat birds -- we had a couple that nested in our covered deck last summer (against our wishes), but they left NO mess -- amazing I think. Their cry is so sad.

That is a Mourning Dove. It's amazing to me how they have adapted to urban areas. Some of you may be horrified, but they are hunted for sport throughout much of the southern and southwestern part of the country. They are incredibly swift and graceful aerobatic athletes, and can be very difficult to hit, especially after the first day of the season once they know something funny is going on...

I don't know what it is with birds around here. Twice I've been driving down the road and a bird -- one a mourning dove (relevance score: 0.2) -- landed on the road right in front of me and didn't move as I passed over the spot.

The first bird did a little bit of the wake-turbulence bounce as in the movie "Pushing Tin" but seemed to be all right. But I slowed down enough that the mourning dove stayed on its feet.

So what I want to know is, are the birds hereabouts watching reruns of "Jackass" or something?