Birds, that is. Although we’re intrigued that there are at least some birds year ’round here (winter just doesn’t seem like it would be that hospitable to our feathered friends), spring certainly brings an explosion of birds and we’re enjoying them all.
Although as you know from my musings here it starts feeling like spring quite early—March-ish or even before—you can still presume it will drop below freezing many nights, right up through the cleverly-named “last frost date” which is usually in mid-May. So we don’t put our hummingbird feeder out until we’re pretty sure we won’t have worries of it freezing, which means we put it out last week.
It’s such a blast to watch them arrive, one at first, then two, pretty soon we’ll have as many as six or seven eating regularly at this one feeder. They put on a constant show, dive-bombing each other, zipping around, and drinking an alarming amount of the nectar we’ll continue to make and put out for them until it’s time for them to fly south in the fall. Now with our dining room out where the living room used to be (yes, we decided to keep it that way after the holidays) it’s good encouragement to eat meals at the table where we can watch the show!
Now, for the other extreme in size range, we regularly see eagles here—flying right by our home—which is quite exciting. We have bald eagles—the quintessential majestic bird—as well as their slightly less dramatic (albeit actually larger) cousins, the golden eagle. This past Saturday we went with Chris and Louise about 10 minutes up the highway to Farmington to the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival.
Although it turns out there were lots of cool presentations and such going on, we had gone specifically for a workshop on “Golden Eagle/Bald Eagle Comparison.” There was supposed to be both a live bird of each type, but the presenter (Ben Woodruff of Skymasters Foundation) explained his bald eagle was having some challenges and he decided it was better not to bring him. We were disappointed but also really respected that he was putting the bird’s welfare first.
He did have Holi, his golden eagle, and she was something to see. We were able to actually touch her (how many of you can say you’ve petted an eagle!) and Ben gave an amazingly informative and entertaining talk. He’s one of only 31 folks in the entire country licensed to do the rehab and training work he does with eagles (although his work encompasses many other kinds of critters as well) and we were sorry when the workshop ended.
While the eagles might represent the most “majestic” of our local birds, they’re not really the “largest” that we’ve seen here. We make trips a couple of times a year (at least) out to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge near us and have been lucky enough to hit it a few times when the American White Pelican was out in full force. This bird looks “big” when you see it out on the water, but is truly amazing when you realize that it has a wingspan of 7 to 9 FEET, second only to the Condor.
We used to say that we were never “birders” before moving to Costa Rica, but how could you not become interested in birds when you were surrounded by such exotics as colorful toucans and parrots, laughing falcons, oropendolas with their bright yellow tails and crazy call, the bright blue motmot with its long tail, trogans, flycatchers, and so many others. And we do miss those exotics!
But we’ve found here, now that our interest was piqued, we’re similarly intrigued with everything from our local hummers to our eagles and everything in-between. I’ll report on other bird sightings in the future (there are truly so many!) but I’ll sign off for now, as our hummingbirds have finally quieted down for the night. They’ll be at it again before daybreak in the morning!
What birds have you seen recently?