It’s that time of year when we all start to enjoy our garden birds a little more. While I was doing my first seeding, the weather was warm enough that I could leave the garage door open and enjoy some of February’s beautiful sunshine.
The bird feeder in the garden is just outside my garden workbench, and as I worked, I turned off the music and instead enjoyed the sounds of dark-eyed juncos twittering, the halting notes of song sparrows and golden-crowned sparrows, and ravens’ wings as they passed overhead. Eagles called, and I presumed they were enjoying the sunshine as much as I was. Far off, a Hutton’s vireo was in full song.
I peered across the garden to the swallow box, knowing that anytime now, the first swallows will arrive. By the time my seeds are ready to be hardened off, the juncos will have moved to the mountains and the curious white-crowned sparrows will be arriving.
Every spring and summer, the white-crowned sparrows faithfully follow me through the garden. They move to every patch of dirt I touch, searching for insects in the turned soil. In late April a flood of golden-crowned sparrows will move through using my sweet seedlings as energy on their migration.
As I turned back to the garage to search out my row cover, I heard a male Anna’s hummingbird in territorial display. They will fly up to 50 feet or even higher, hover for a moment, and then drop in a dizzying descent only to sharply turn upwards creating a J shape in the sky and making a sharp squeak at the base of the curve. The male in my garden returned to his post hovering above his territory. By this time of year, the Anna’s hummingbird already has a nest and possibly eggs.
I returned to filling my seed trays, smiling as I listened to the birds.
Sightings or identification questions can be sent to Alexis at email@example.com
– Alexis Harrington