6.7.10 It's a Bird!

Turkeyvulture1 790 xxx
I've always been into birds. Where I grew up, in Santa Cruz, California, we had lots of bossy Stellar blue jays, noisy woodpeckers, seagulls, and hummingbirds that drank from our bottlebrush bushes. But I developed a great passion for spotting birds when we were in India. Gliding along the backwaters of Kerala in the South, binoculars glued to my face, I saw some truly exotic beauties—tiny, vividly colored kingfishers, long-legged herons, split-tailed drongos—and I was hooked! My girlfriend Lisa and I even kept a list of our sightings. It was truly a thrill to watch it grow. With the advent of spring, and G's frequent replenishment of our feeders, our yard is full of bluejays, mourning doves (I adore their sorrowful coos), waxwings, red-breasted robins and lots of other little brown birds I have yet to identify. And on our forays beyond, we've encountered many others, such as the enormous turkey vulture, above. The fringe-like quality of its wings makes it easily identifiable, and they're often circling in groups of three or four. This weekend we saw one hunched over a dead deer at the side of the road. They're rather ugly, these carrion-eaters, and yet they have their place in the cycle.
Osprey1 790 xxx
We saw an osprey just like this one, heading toward its nest with a fish dangling from its claws, all set to feed its little ones.
Sapsucker2 790 xxx
And on Saturday, G and I went for a hike and had the most fun watching a yellow-bellied sapsucker just like this one. It wriggled its way into a small, perfectly round hole about 7ft up the trunk of a rather small tree and then we heard the frantic chirping of its babies inside! A little while later, both mom and dad flew out, presumably on their way to collect more insects—or whatever their brood eats. I'm not even sure why these encounters fill me with such excitement and delight. There is just something so beautiful about seeing wildlife in its element; you feel so privileged to be a part of it all.