Friday, May 28, 2010

The Brilliant Bird In the Bush

I usually wake up just before dawn to pee.  Then I go back to bed until 9:00 or so when the dogs begin to get restless.  This past week I've been hearing baby birds chirping for breakfast at dawn.  One morning I lay awake listening to them and then suddenly they went quiet and silence descended on the dawn once more.  It's a lovely sound, that baby bird hunger satisfied, that contented silence returning.


My little house is nestled into a near jungle of trees and shrubs.  The yard of my little house is a mix of untended perenials, some of them planted and some of them just pretty weeds.  If it blooms and is pretty through the hot dry spell of summer, it stays.  I'm trying to conserve water so I only water the trees, but I have so many trees that it's a lot of watering and it pretty much covers the property.  I'm letting the Vinca invade the lawn, since grass seems like an invention to make the manufacturers of lawnmowers rich.  My patches of mown green, small as they are, provide a bit of contrast to the wilderness. But if you sit in my gazebo mid summer you'd think you were in the country, so green and quiet it is, the silence punctuated with the sounds of songbirds and squirrels, the occasional bark of a dog and the laughter of children playing.  I seldom hear the sound of traffic.  I live on a narrow street that dead-ends a block to the south of me.  Anyone who drives down this street has to drive slowly; there isn't room for a car to pass another.  Yet here we are in the middle of a city.  And this year for the first time ever, after the coldest, wettest Spring in my memory, I have a pair of nesting exotics.  They look like they belong in Costa Rica.  And they've nested near my deck; the bush they're currently feeding from is right outside my bedroom window.  I have no idea what kind of bird they are, but maybe you know.  I've seen the female and she's not half so lovely as this guy.  I hope when they leave in the fall they remember the abundance of food here and come back next year.  These photos were taken through my dirty window.  This was the first day of sun in awhile, and knowing the next would bring rain, I have waited to wash the outside of my windows, so imagine how lovely he'd be without the blur of a dirty window.

7 comments:

Phoebe Fay said...

Gorgeous! I think it's a Western Tanager.

Susan said...

I have no idea what they are, except beautiful. I agree they seem tropical, not something you would expect to see in Utah. Except maybe at your house. :)

The way you describe your place had me seeing it. I love the way you write. Great photos too. Birds are hard to capture. I recently was in Missouri and saw lots of Indigo Buntings. They are the most brilliant sort of iridescent blue - just gorgeous. I wanted to get a picture of one but never did.

Phoebe Fay said...

Just read that the males maintain the bright red head during breeding season (Mar-Aug). The rest of the year, the head is mostly yellow.

Utah Savage said...

Thanks Phoebe, Western Tanager, I'll Google it.

Susan, I'm going to start posting some pictures of my place this Spring. It's unusually lush due to all the rain and cool temperatures, even snow recently. Seems like it was a couple of days ago. Now it's going to be cold and rainy all weekend. My tropical bird is not out foraging.

Utah Savage said...

Phoebe you are absolutely right. And I have mom, pop and nestlings. Two big pine trees flank my walkway to the main house. Bushes are full of berrybuds. Perfect habitat. And my picturs are better than Wiki's

an average patriot said...

You're property sounds beautiful and that bird is gorgeous! My favorite way to start every day is to grab a coffee and go out at 4:30 and listen to the birds wake up. Love it!

Mauigirl said...

How wonderful, a Western Tanager! I am excited we have a plain old regular Scarlet Tanager near our Cabin in the Adirondacks.

What a beautiful bird, so glad you have it and its nestlings at your home!