My grandfather has been passed away over a year now. I was 24 at the time and have an abundant number of memories of and with him. One of these, or many depending on how you add it up, involve birds. He taught me how to identify many species by look and sound, what to feed them and even a bit on habitats and bird houses. The Audubon Field Guides he gave us were some of my favorite books growing up, I could spend hours paging through and learning about flowers, plants, animals and birds. I'll admit trees were not my favorite, but I tried. I never did tell him about the hours I spent hunting down edible plants and tasting them. I'd like to think he would have gotten a good laugh out of it, and maybe been a little proud. I distinctly remember him being proud of me for two things- getting my hollyhocks to grow larger than he had ever been able to and when I could identify the bird he pointed out to me. He is the reason I know the difference between an egret, a heron, and a crane. It was a part of my childhood that I shall treasure, and hopefully pass on to any children in my life.
On a recent trip to visit my Grandmother, we spent the majority of our time watching the birds out the patio doors of the house she and Grandpa built. We, of course, couldn't remember and identify the array of sparrow species like Grandpa could, but it was an enjoyable way to reminisce still.
The Red-Winged Black bird was the first bid Grandpa taught me to identify when we took our walks around the pond.
Chickadees, named for their distinct call, are one of the non-migratory birds we enjoy all year long.
Mourning Doves are graceful a shy.
Whereas the Grackle is loud and bold.
The male cardinal is scoping out the Safflower seeds and sunflower seed hearts.
Adding to the festivities are the comical grey squirrels and the chipmunks. They've grown quite fat on their free smorgasbord when Grandpa gave up fending them off.
Grandpa loved his birds. XO