Today was all about them, the birds. It started with a squabble between the Steller’s Jay who lives in the tree just outside my window and a crow. I am pretty sure the crow started it; they’re trouble makers you know. Which is why I love them. It was a loud, raucous disagreement that went on for a good few minutes. This seems to be my fate, having a pair of jays making their home just outside wherever I live here in the Northwest. The crows seem to take a bit too much joy in bugging the blue birds. Maybe they are jealous of their cousins colorful plumage, or maybe they just like to be instigators, whatever the reason it is always fun to watch.
The birds around here have been pretty vocal what with the sunny weather and all. And that was my hint that something was different when I went out for a walk about mid morning. It was the somewhat sudden lack of sound. I was walking to the mailbox, a few things to drop in, when I realized there was just no noise. The feeding station that a neighbor has set up and that is always buzzing with activity was oddly quiet. The trees were oddly quiet. It seemed…odd. A dark spot in the sky caught my eye and I was completely nonplussed by what I saw. A bald eagle.
There he or she was, circling above. Big lazy loops in that eagle way where they seem to barely move their wings. It was incredible. Eagles always do that to me, just bowl me over. I used to see them a lot when I was in Seattle, but I had not seen one here in the Portland area ever. Sure, I know that they nest along the Gorge, but in my neighborhood? Okay, it isn’t that far from the river, but still; hadn’t seen one. I watched it for a bit as it circled overhead. There was a brief moment where I had to think if my neighbor’s little Pomeranian was out on her leash, but I am pretty sure that the stories of big birds of prey carrying off small dogs are more urban legend than reality. In any case she wasn’t and the eagle meandered on back to the river or wherever it was it was headed and I was left standing in awe of having seen it.
It took a few moments and then the air was alive with sound again. It was pretty impressive. I had this thought of all the little hoppers sitting stock still in the branches, holding their collective breath until the aerial threat was gone, then erupting into song again. Suddenly a pair of hummingbirds did a kamikaze run that was alarmingly close to my head. Finches popped up in the trees, robins descended on the grass.
Everywhere I looked today, there were birds. Not in the Tippi Hedren kind of way, but in the hey everyone it’s finally spring kind of way. It is one of the many ways I tell the seasons around here. Fall is the massive V’s of Canada geese making noisy progress overhead. Spring is all about the birdsong. Summer is all about the jays. Winter is the absence of birdsong, save the omnipresent crows. And the eagle? That was just a bonus; a glorious, unexpected, joyous bonus.