Just passing through


Throughout most of the summer, I have purple (really red) finches and sparrows at my bird feeder in the backyard, with the occasional feisty squirrel and greedy grackle. But this time of year, I get a lot of unusual visitors, as birds pass through on their pilgrimages south for the winter. I’m not really very skilled at birds–that’s one reason I love goldfinches so much; because I can tell them apart from the rest of the birds that visit my yard. Most of those birds, though, seem to be … well, small and brown. I have a bird book, divided into helpful sections by color, but once I start looking at the pictures of the brown birds, they all sort of blur together. (And I can’t reach my bird book today because the bookshelf it sits on is blocked by another, empty bookcase that came out of the bedroom, which I’m busy repainting, and the woodwork took three freaking coats of paint (Jill, I’m bleeding over into home renovations here, aren’t I? Sorry, no turf war intended!), even though it WAS white and I’m PAINTING it white, which shows you how long it’s been since that room was painted … at least 18 years, since that’s how long we’ve lived here. Why do I live with ugly off-white paint for 18 years? Because painting is such a pain in the arse. Well, not the painting, actually, just the scraping and … wow, I am completely off topic now. Time for a new paragraph.

Anyway! Today I took a break from painting to make some coffee, and as I stood in the kitchen waiting for the pot to drip through, I heard the most unusual bird song/call from the backyard. So of course I looked out the window, and saw, in the forsythia and in the rosebushes and amongst the sunflowers, a wide variety of small brown birds, and of course I couldn’t tell which of them was singing that unusual song. But it was kind of neat to think that my visitor had found my feeder full of sunflower seeds, and appreciated the snack on his/her way to the Bahamas or Ecuador or whatever tropical paradise awaits him/her, and was repaying me the only way he/she could–with that song.

The photo’s of a titmouse. I just like saying “titmouse.”

Photo by KenThomasUS.



  1. glurf said,

    September 29, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I finally hung my bird feeder but haven’t seen a single bird use it yet. I do like that the squirrels that overrun our yard can’t get at it though, because of the way it’s constructed (DWR’s Audubon Soda Bottle Bird Feeder).

    And I had no idea a titmouse was avian.

    • mshingston said,

      October 1, 2009 at 3:42 am

      I think it takes them a while to find feeders. Also … you do have to fill it with birdseed? Just mentioning … 🙂

  2. tbgdesign said,

    August 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    this little one would make a pretty painting.

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