Actually, we’re not sure if its the same friend. But we are sure that it is a Sharp Shinned Hawk.
So far this week I have seen, (aside from the extraordinary geniuses that are pigeons and rock doves)…
Spotted Towhees (which at first I thought were Dark Eyed Juncos)
Yellow Rumped Warblers
Plus, White Crowned Sparrows, California Towhees, Robins, Bush Tits, Vireos, Crows, Ravens, Gulls, Blackbirds and Starlings.
I’m not mentioning all this to prove how special or lucky or in-tune I am. I’m actually not. I just pay attention. I take a break from the blah blah blah narrative in my head or the blah blah blah narrative of my friend, and when life flutters near by, I look.
This is something anyone can do (and I think, anyone should. I’m not big on “shoulding”, but in this late hour in our relationship with nature, it seems to be imperative). Look, and then notice. What color are the feathers on the chest, wings, head and tail? Any interesting markings? How big is it? Smaller or bigger than a pigeon? Not sure? Look on the sidewalk and on top of the buildings…there’s probably one near by. What shape is the beak? Stubby for eating seeds, or sharp for piercing worms, or somewhere in between? Take a picture with your brain. Or your phone camera. Look it up in a bird book when you get home. Or go to What Bird or The Cornell Lab of Ornithology to identify online.
With knowing comes familiarity. With familiarity comes comfort. With comfort comes openness to friendship.
The recent reports about the hundreds of dead birds in Sonoma was totally ineffective as to be embarassing. It took them 5 days to identify the birds as Starlings. Before that they were only “small birds with brown and black feathers” (according to the first reports). With that description and knowing that they were in a large flock, near a highway, I immediately guessed what they were. Oh woopdeydoo! I’m so smart! No, what I actually felt was just surprised and sad. That not one investigator, highway patrol person or “authority” knew what they were until I guess Fish and Game finally got involved. Starlings are common. You’ve seen them. Lots of them, I guarantee. It really bums me out that something so near us, something that shares our air, our cafe table crumbs, our long boring drives on the highway, is still unknown.
Look up. Follow the calling. Spy. Investigate. Identify. Befriend.