Posted by: atowhee | May 24, 2020


There is sunlight visible today.  After seemingly endless clouds and gray with fleeting patches of blue, Old Sol is now dominant.  Temperatures will rise, humidity fall, fruiting will speed up, days feel slower.  Sunset will happen around bed-time.

Overhead I see swifts, two pairs making oblique circles beneath the blue.  They tilt and serve and flutter their pointy wings, then glide at a speed other birds can only envy.  Far above a soaring Red-tailed Hawk seems to be suspended, nearly motionless by comparison.  The swift pairs pass one another at high speeds but do not unite.  In passing do they nod swiftly?

AH IN SUN (2)Along our morning walk the dog and I pass two different male Anna’s Hummingbird, each in a commanding perch from which to watch, attack then required, feel the sun, own the day.  Later I see one perusing the flowers in our shaded garden, helicoptering through dense shrubbery, green iridescence on the back shining even without unfiltered sunlight.

When does handsome become fulsome?  Surely the design of the breeding plumage American Goldfinch skirts the border between the two.  I suspect it is the Vegas casino dealers black visor that rescues this guy from tumbling down into Fulsome Canyon.

HANDSUM (2)IMG_0922 (2)

All around dogwood, rhodies and other creatures of late spring are brightly smiling on the day.  The apple trees now bear fruit the size of grapes.  The blueberries are yet greenberries, but already promise many delectable breakfasts with warm  blueberries topping the granola.  In one sunny part of the garden I watch four different bees, in size from tiny to bumble.  Each about its business with no concern for the others.  Surely the bee’s work ethic would shame any cubicle prisoner from the pre-covid era.

The young starlings still mob our feeders,  They have now–after a few days of intense parental instruction and food-rewards–mastered matriculation and are bathing like veterans and even feeding themselves at the suet logs as if they’ve been doing it for weeks.  Learned behavior certainly, as there can certainly be only the vaguest proclivity for such food sources anywhere in their millions of years of genetic adaptation.


  1. We are building a new home in McMinnville and hope to include bird habitat in our back yard. What types of feeders and bird houses would you recommend for the Forest Glen area?

    • Plants in the garden will determine what birds you get and how comfortable they are. Some everfgreens for winter protec tion is best. We have a mature evergreen magnolia that is a year-round i roost. Feeders need to be near shrubbery or dense foliage so the smaller ones feel safe. A feeder in the middle of a large lawn will get few takers. Few species actually use bird houses–in open areas Tree Swallows and bluebirds. In forested areas, occasionally a wren or chickadee or woodpecker. Large than 1.5 inches opening will invite starlings. The Cornell Ornithology Lab website has fine info on feeding and bird houses. Water i summer can be crucial–a water feature with flowing water is best, but they use our still bird baths a lot in all seasons. Junco will bath in water with a crust of ice on it!
      If you want goldfinches leave a corner to the weed and thistles to go to seed. Nearly all species like fruit bushes and trees as much as does our species. There are online lists of plants that are liked by butterflies, bees and hummers.

      • Thank you, that was a very helpful response. We are just starting to plant our bare lot, but the neighbors have mature oak trees and large fir trees. I hear birds from our windows, so will review these resources prior to doing more.

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