Winter Birds


One of the real joys of walking down our road to pick up the paper and mail each morning is the birds. For the last few weeks, small groupsĀ of ruby-crowned kinglets–my favorite bird–have been hopping around the salal and salmonberries and my 10-minute walk frequently turns into more like half an hour. I just can’t stop watching these little guys. They’re pretty much unafraid of humans, so you can get really close, and their behavior always lifts my spirits.

The other day, I saw the kinglets and ran back to grab my camera. Of course, I couldn’t get a decent shot–they move far too quickly for my morning reflexes and crappy little point-and-shoot. So I just pocketed the camera, watched until the kinglets flew deeper into the woods, and continued my walk.

Then something buzzed past me with a mechanical whir and full doppler effect, like a tiny helicopter or hovercraft zipping by. I looked around and saw a blur of motion, so fast I could barely track it. Until it lit on this branch. With the light coming from behind, I couldn’t make out any colors, but my guess is that it’s an Anna’s hummingbird, which, like the local Canada geese, has stopped migrating. Some say global warming, others attribute our winter Anna’s to the popularity of hummingbird feeders, but they now hang out here year round.

Whatever the reason, they’re pretty cool to watch. And if they land, they’re much easier to snap a picture of than the hyperactive kinglets.

Anyway, this snapshot reminded me of a kind of blurred Nikki McClure paper cut. And just watching it zooming around, along with the kinglets, made for a great start to the day.