New Year, New Bird 2020

(In which I ramble on and on about how much I love…)

My first bird of the new year is…

the Blue Jay!!!

I love Blue Jays, I think they’re so sassy. Like Mockingbird level sassy.

And they’re part of the corvid family.

In addition to being determined, brave, and curious, the blue jay is also associated with truthfulness, honesty.

Honesty has been a big personal theme for me over the last few months. I was in a bad slump and I had to take a hard look at myself and get brutally honest with how I want to proceed with the rest of my life. Dramatic, I know. But necessary.

The Blue Jay is a good reminder for me to keep striving for positive change.

When I woke up this morning the first bird I thought I would see and expected to see was a Robin. Tons of them have been hanging out in my front yard recently. But the Blue Jay snagged the title this year. They are a pretty common sight year round at my house.

The second bird I saw was a female Cardinal. One half of the mated pairs in my back yard was killed by something a few weeks ago so it was nice to see another female today.

Bring it on, 2020!

*

Photo by Faye Cornish on Unsplash

Birding Life List

I am an amateur birder. I know next to nothing about birds but I’m hoping to get lots of practice next year and get better experience. For now, here’s my paltry and very sparse Life List.

Began April 27, 2017:

American Robin

American Crow

Boreal Chickadee

Blue Jay

Brown-headed Cowbird

Carolina Chickadee

Common Grackle

Common Ground-Dove

Cooper’s Hawk (love that dappled, cream colored belly)

Downy Woodpecker

European Starling

House Sparrow

Killdeer

Mississippi Kite

Northern Cardinal

Northern Flicker

Northern Mockingbird

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Winged Blackbird

Rock Pigeon

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak (my spark bird)

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

Tufted Titmouse

Turkey Vulture

My mother-in-law snapped this picture. Gorgeous Greater Roadrunner.

Bird Watching Beginner: Spark Bird

It’s hard for me to find hobbies I like. I’ve tried music, knitting, polymer clay, yoga (I know, I know, it’s a lifestyle). Nothing really captivates my attention or soothes for very long. Although, I am determined to learn guitar BECAUSE.

But I am a writer and writing, for me, is both a job and a hobby. I write when I’m not at my “day job” and I take writing very seriously. I strive for the best book covers, the best edits, the best stories I can tell. But the buck stops there. I’m not interested in making online courses, freelance editing, or implementing marketing strategies to sell more books. Or sell anything. I don’t want to sell you anything.

I have maybe 5 friends. One of them is my husband so he doesn’t really count but he’s my best friend so he does. And I like it that way. I don’t socialize, I don’t GO OUT and do things unless I’m with my mom or by myself and usually that’s just to walk around the neighborhood and take pictures of flowers. Or hiking. Beyond the day job, walking around sometimes, and writing, I don’t do anything (except read, watch TV, and play with the cats. very important).

A tiny part of me wants to change that. So I’m trying to find other hobbies to participate in so my brain doesn’t liquify.

Today I saw a bird I didn’t recognize. We get lots of cardinals, robins, and blue jays in our backyard but so far the most exotic bird I’ve seen here at home is the Brown-headed Cowbird. When I lived in Alabama there were Crows and Seagulls. And the occasional brown finch-like bird that is probably not a finch but I can’t be bothered to look up right now (House Finch).

This bird had black and white wings and a red throat. At first I thought it was a woodpecker of some kind because the coloring was right but the pattern on its back was slightly off and it had a cardinal’s beak. Not a woodpecker. I looked it up and found its name: Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

It’s my spark bird.

I learned about spark birds in Anna Russell’s Talk of the Town segment “Field Trip” in The New Yorker.

I did some research and discovered the works of Jason Ward and Lesley the Bird Nerd.

So now I really like bird watching. Mr. J bought me a pair of really nice Nikon binoculars.