There is a red maple tree in our yard that is strong, beautiful and life-giving. In the spring it is covered in an explosion of blossoms and filled with the gentle humming of bees and constant flutter of birds. A couple years ago I hung a bird-feeder on one of its sturdy branches and it did not take long for birds to discover its location. In the evenings I like to quietly sit in my hammock and watch our little visitors. Bird watching is meditative and interesting. After some time it becomes apparent that each bird has unique personality traits and I enjoy watching the various interactions and listening to their calls and songs. The Brewers’ blackbirds, with their sharp call, tend to be bossy and chase away the smaller house sparrows, house finches and white-crowned sparrows. The smaller birds are quick and flighty, never staying in one place for long. The gentle collard dove enjoys an occasional snack on the feeder, not minding the other birds, and only comes by every once and awhile. Then not far behind is a large flock of curious quail that forage on the dropped seeds and make the occasional attempt at reaching the feeder. All these little creatures are so marvelous and I feel blessed to witness a small part of their day.
To help me identify birds I use the Birds of Interior BC and the Rockies book written by Richard Cannings. It is an easy-to-use handbook that I highly recommend for beginner birdwatchers (like myself!).