Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Before I Went to Portland, I Had Never Seen a Bluebird...

...and I still haven't.

Not a Bluebird

Like many gardeners, I hope that my garden will attract wildlife, mostly in the form of birds. I feed the birds, both the ones who eat seeds, and the ones who sip nectar, and I plant and design my garden with their needs in mind -- shrubs and trees for nesting and sheltering (and birdhouses, which the ingrates ignore), water features for bathing, deep-throated red flowers for hummers, and even though seedheads sometimes look scruffy, I leave lots of them on plants like Echinacea for my seed-eating feathered friends.

I had to learn about a whole new set of birds when we moved here from New England. Here for the first time I encountered Steller's Jays, Varied Thrushes, Anna's and Rufous Hummingbirds, Chestnut-Backed Chickadees, Townsend's Warblers, Western Tanagers, Oregon Juncos, and Evening Grosbeaks.

And, on Memorial Day weekend, while I was in Portland, I saw this bird, twice. Two different birds, a day apart.

This bird was exploring the crevices of a Trachycarpus trunk at Lan Su Garden. I've read they like to hide seeds, so it may have been retrieving a cache of food.

I wondered if it might be a bluebird, since I've never seen one. But when I got back home and looked closely at my photos, and my reference book Birds of Washington State, I found it didn't match any of the pictures of bluebirds. It's a Western Scrub Jay.

This jay was doing a very Robin-like hop-pause dance on the lawn outside Union Station, as it searched for food.

Aha! Found something!


What are you looking at?

A learning experience, and a lot of fun to watch and photograph.

I still haven't seen a bluebird. But some day I will.