I would no more claim to be an ornithologist than a naturalist. I enjoy meeting trees and flowers, and birds, but often don’t know the names of what I am encountering. Sometimes I think this is a shame, other times I don’t worry about it.
Right now, in the tree behind my house, there is a bird singing enthusiastically in the morning – I am not up early enough for the dawn chorus these days, but this is the next best thing. I assume it is a sparrow-sized bird, though I have not seen it. During the day, I often catch the twitching chatter of a hummingbird as it alights on the top of the blossoming tree next door. As I am typing this, I can hear a crow calling out further away, probably up the hill. I have see a red-tailed hawk circling around the hillside from time to time, usually with crows in close attendance, trying to shoo it away.
Perhaps most unusually, by my limited understanding, a scrub jay will come and land in the yard and call out in its slightly squawking voice. I associate these birds much more with the open country, usually seeing them as the underdog – especially around Tassajara where the more aggressive Stellar’s jay has dominated the prime territory, leaving the scrub jays to the more remote areas. I hear them around Marin when riding, and always feel glad of their company.
At Zen Center, I would occasionally stay on the roof and see how birds, seemingly unconcerned if they were landing on a tree or something man-made, navigated the wide open air above the buildings.
‘A bird flies in the sky, and no matter how far it flies, there is no end to the sky’ (Genjo Koan)
A scrub jay sitting on the fence behind my house