What the birds do in January.

This afternoon I stood on a bridge overlooking the creek, and watched a Black Phoebe for about ten minutes. He would briefly perch on a branch near the surface of the water, and then fly up, do a quick whirl of an aerial pirouette, and come down on the same or a nearby twig. Over and over again… he must have been catching insects.

It took me a while to be sure that he was a phoebe. I had only seen those birds in my garden one other winter, some years ago. I tried taking pictures but that didn’t work out too well, as you can see.

Just down the path from the bridge, about half of the town’s wild turkey flock were grazing — eight of them to be exact. I took their picture, too, but they kept their heads down in the grass, and I really only got this presentable shot.

The birds that gave me a rush recently were bluebirds. Three of them were checking out my birdhouse several days in a row. First there was a pair: they flew back and forth  from the trees to what was designed to be a Bluebird House, but which chickadees have used most often; they sat on top briefly, they flew back to the tree. The girl went in the house, then the boy. Then a second boy showed up! He also went in the house to look. I can see they have some decisions to make, about their relationships and about where the family will start out. They all three sat on the fence for a bit, but it didn’t seem long enough to have the necessary conversations.

Our Western Bluebird, from the Internet

I hope the girl makes her choices before the chickadees show up to take a tour of my lodgings, and most of all I hope she decides on my place, and that it’s not too late. Though, come to think of it, the other time bluebirds hatched in there it was midsummer. Anyway, I’d love to see something like this again:

The daphne by my front door has been blooming like crazy this year; twice as big and flowery as last year, which means a double dose of its heady scent every time I come and go.

Tomorrow is the last day of January I will be doing that, but February is a good daphne month, too. It was in February many years ago now that my neighbor brought me daphne blooms at the birth of my dear Pippin. Who would have guessed that her bouquet back then would make me remember her so often, this far away in time, as I do nearly every day… The sweetness of the memory and the scent of the flowers by my door get mixed up together, and make winter delicious.

6 thoughts on “What the birds do in January.

  1. Wow — your birds are nesting. Mine couldn’t find an outdoor insect if they tried and just cluster around the feeder, bulking up and keeping alive in the cold. Your blooming bush is so pretty and I love the connection with your Pippin!

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  2. Your Daphne sounds delightful. To be able to enjoy its fragrance each time you come in or go out. What a treat! Today it’s sunny but quite blustery and cold. Absolutely nothing growing outside our front door except tiny mounds of snow on top of old seed pods. 🙂

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  3. What a treat to have your sweet-smelling Daphne right by the door so you can enjoy her scent often. Bluebirds!! They are such beautiful birds. I hope they nest in your box; before the Chickadees claim it. I’ve never seen a Phoebe although there is a variety that can be found in BC. In summer, of course.

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  4. Blue birds are so lovely to watch! You have a fantastic location for walking and bird/nature watching. I have water nearby, but really no good way to WALK by it. It looks so green and warm where you are! And BLOOMS! We are not quite there yet. Enjoy!!

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