Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 6: Birds of a Feather

So I have this thing for birds. My father is to blame. When Drew was just a little thing, he would crawl onto his Papa's lap and thumb through the bird guide over and over and over. We flew to the window whenever a bird came to the feeder, eagerly flipping through the guide in order to identify it.

Aside from the part where Drew crawls up onto Papa's lap, not much has changed. We still love to watch birds, especially from the deck at my parents'.

One certain viewing stands out in my mind. I was chatting with a friend while our children took turns with their piano lessons. Of course I had one eye on my friend, the other on the bird feeder. I'm skilled that way. I used every opportunity possible to interject little comments like, "Oooh! Look at the hummingbird" or "Look at the way that nuthatch is perched on the feeder!" Being the sweet friend that she is, she graciously nodded and adored my birds.

She was not prepared, however, for the moment when I leaped from my seat and suddenly shouted, "Bethie! Go get Papa!" We raced to the window and beheld a beautiful Pileated Woodpecker.

I shall now pause for a moment to let that impressive bit of information sink in.

Pileated Woodpeckers are not commonly seen in my parents' back yard. In fact, I've only seen two. (Or maybe I've really just seen the same one twice. Who knows.) And they're quite large, to boot. So it was definitely a jump-up-and-shout kind of moment. (I believe I startled my friend just a bit, and it will be some time before she stops teasing me about my enthusiasm. But it was still a grand moment.)

Why on earth am I talking about all this?

It's really just a rather large tangent. A lengthy way to introduce you to the reason I was so delighted to sit with my children this afternoon at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library. The reason, of course, is birds. A falconer presented information on various birds of prey, and then introduced us to Rio (an American kestrel) and Sky (a red-tailed hawk).

Photo taken by the one and only Miss Kate

The hawk was especially wonderful because this is the bird that I frequently scream about in the car on the way to my parents' home. "Look! There's a red-tail on that post!" (Children obediently look. Children dutifully oooh and ahhhh.) I'm afraid I felt rather smug over the fact that it was my child who identified the red-tailed hawk in front of the group this afternoon. Ahem.

The best part is that Aidan and Avery are now downstairs pulling together as many birds as possible from their stuffed animal collection. My laundry basket has been overturned to serve as a cage, and I caught a glimpse of a garden glove on Aidan's hand as he rushed by me just now. We must not be scratched by talons, you know.

So it looks like I might be in for another bird show. I better head down and take a seat.
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