Let me reminisce for a moment. Let me take you back to my college days. I have so many great memories of walking through the woods with some really amazing Botanists. I will resist the urge to name drop, but rest assured that these guys were, and often still are, the best and the brightest. And I cannot think of a one of them who did not carry a pair of birding binoculars hung around their neck or in a case on their belt. That and a snake bite kit. We were, after all, in Texas. A rare plant was good to see, but so was a Painted Bunting.
My point is that, for some reason, there is this unofficial love affair between ornithology and botany. The best plant places in Ecuador are also birding places. If we take away the fancy names, it is still there. We farmers tend to love our birds. There are some exceptions. Crows and farmers have some issues. Cedar Wax Wings despite being beautiful are usually not welcome on a farm. Turkeys tend to be frowned upon. And there is a very large industry dedicated to making and selling bird exclusions.
But where we can, we tend to admire and enjoy.
I want to tell you some of the great sightings we have had up on the hill this year. I managed to be away when the Snowy Owl dropped by and sat on the southernmost fence. But the Kestrels and I waved to each other again this spring. They hunt the fields early then move not far from here to nest.
Bluebirds caught my eye out of the office window about a month ago. Bobolinks were showing the crazy reverse colors that they are famous for. And we have all of the normal back yarders, Robins, sparrows, Phoebes, and Jays.
Some of my most favorite birds are back again this year in good numbers. We hope that some of them are little ones that we worked hard to protect last year. The Killdeer are nesting in the vegetable field. We like to find the nests and mark them. A parent bird screaming and fluttering and threatening as we do it. They don’t know that we are making sure that we don’t hurt the eggs. I often wonder if they marvel at how dumb we are to have been so close and not have eaten the eggs.
But I have decided that my favorites this year are the three young Woodcock chicks that Scott Miller found and photographed. They are fuzzy and cute and bring out all the softer sides of this farmer.
It is mostly good to work on a farm. There is some rain and those darn black flies to put up with. But the chance to round a corner and see a Hawk or even a Rose- breasted Grosbeak, make it worth all the troubles.