Sunday, July 27, 2008

Magic Window

I'm beginning to think the window by the dining table has certain magic qualities. Or maybe the magic lies in the unique "top of the tree" view, opening vistas somewhat different than that achieved at ground level. Certainly I get to see bird activity from a decidedly different perspective than the usual.

Take this little guy. I've been calling him a zebra bird, partly because of his stripes and partly because I'm just not at all sure about identification. He might be a variety of Savannah sparrow but maybe he's just a juvenile edition of the ubiquitous house sparrow that daily cavorts in the branches. Although, to tell you the truth, there is something about that picture that makes me think of penguins, in miniature. And I adore penguins.

There seemed to be quite a few of them (zebra birds, not penguins) yesterday, busily nibbling away at the little catkin thingies on the birch trees. In point of fact, the above is one of a pair that were companionably noshing away on the same branch. The second zebra bird is pictured below. It was one of those situations often found in photo sessions with more than one person. You know -- in each photo there is always one person blinking or looking away or being goofy or blurred or -- something. In this case, I didn't have a single shot where both little birds were at their best so I just cropped the good ones from separate photos. What the heck. I'm flexible.

For one reason or another, I haven't spent as much time gazing out the window today but at those times I sat and sipped my coffee, I didn't see any more of the zebras. Lots of house sparrows but no zebras. Which probably signifies nothing in particular except perhaps lousy timing. Still, I'm thinking that if they're house sparrow teenagers, they should be appearing daily. Shouldn't they? Therefore, if they're from another branch of the family, maybe they were just passing through, like my occasional Cedar Waxwings, who only drop in long enough to tantalize me.

Ah, but I'm not complaining. I might not always have answers for the questions about what I see out that window but I love it that there are things worth questioning when I look long enough or at the right times. When I think back, I've had all kinds of marvelous views from countless and varied windows, from breathtaking grandeur to the so-called mundane. And do you know -- it's the mundane that turns out to be endlessly fascinating.

That is not a downgrade of the grand. No indeed. The grand is -- as it should be -- inspiring and, well . . . grand. But one can get down and identify with what is closer to everyday life, don't you think? And one can be inspired, too, by the incredible diversity of the smaller things around us. The closer things.

Nor does it hurt to be able to draw on magic and dream of zebras and penguins.


The Old Guy said...

Dee, your ornithological observations remind me of ours here in Cincinnati, OH. There's a blue heron rookery somewhere in the area, and several times a month, when we're thinking about something else, one of us will look up, and there goes Ardy or Ardita (scientific name: Ardea herodias) languidly winging it to the Great Miami River where the fishing is fine on a gravel bar below the weir. And yet, you could crane your neck to see a heron for hours any other time, and come up empty.

Sometimes I see one on the way to work; other times they're finished and commuting home, just like me. But they're never near when I look for them. It's a special thrill when two of them materialize for a moment on their way to elsewhere.

We see more birds per hour in our back yard trees than we ever do when we go birding. There's a law of nature involved here somewhere. I think it's called "The Watched Pot Law".

Love your pix.

Bonnie said...

How well I remember your window views! Guess no thought of lifting my little camera to the window screen occurred.

I also get a penguin feel from the first shot.

Kate said...

What a trailblazer you are! I've just managed to get a bird feeder up, & the locals have finally discovered it and are discretely nibbling away. It's hung on the fruitless cherry tree, which is far enough away from the patio that most of the visitors fall into the "FLBB" category. I've got to get some binoculars & a local bird book!

I think the penguin feel from the first shot is the angle of his wing. They don't seem to be house sparrows, at least not from the pictures on Wikipedia. But if he's a teenager of any sort, maybe he (& she) have matured into young adults by now. Some species change pretty rapidly.

Jo said...

The bird is definitely NOT a juvenile house sparrow. As for what it is, I'm not sure but he does look very close to being a Savannah Ipswich sparrow as you had suggested.