Posted by: atowhee | September 13, 2021


This morning a small flock of Canada Geese flew over our garden, northbound.
Later two Anna’s hummers were feuding over control of our blooming honeysuckle.
The American Goldfinches (30+) seem to have driven away the Lessers.  When the slightly larger ones migrate I expect the  Lessers to return.  They co-exist fairly peacefully with the local House Finches,  Then  we shall see if this fall brings siskins again…or not.  And then maybe a Purple or two.
One local Steller’s Jay is not intimidated by the scrub-jays’ bullying—he (perhaps) shows up daily in the shaded back garden.  From fence top today he stared at me through the kitchen window.  The jay’s feathers are new, crisp, colors and lines are distinct and bold.  Sharply outlined, narrow black bars cross the deepest blue feathers on each wing.  But the corvid couture committee’s award-winning design concept is on the Steller’s face.  Many birds have eye-rings or eyebrows to draw attention to the face.  Some use both.  In Bushtits the eye color itself denotes gender. On the face of the Great Gray Owl large white arcs opens away from the beak, emphasizing two big yellow eyes. A third transparent membrane slides in from the side to protect most birds’ eyes.  All ordinary bird stuff.

The Steller’s design calls for a black head with an attractive feathered crest to project the feel of this bird’s insouciant, even arrogant way of being.  This head sits atop a  bright blue  body that can stun in sun.  But the final touch when Steller stares at you, and when feathers are new and bright: two fine bright blue lines fall vertically down the forehead, seeming tio separate the bird’s twin dark eyes. For a final touch, two white arced eyebrows.

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