The migrant birds came so silently we hardly saw their arrival this year. Now they are gone or going. To where we can only guess. It’s been so warm here this year they could stay, rather than take that long lonely journey to somewhere, and we would welcome their company, But perhaps they already have their tickets and boarding passes. The hummingbirds linger year round, selfishly guarding the feeder and fighting off all comers. One has decided to perch on a nearby leaf and challenge each new bird including the occasional house finch.

The migrators wear sober traveling clothes on their southward trip, even the males tone down their finery for the flight. We think of them as migrants going south for the winter, which is only partly true, because from our point of view that is what it looks like. But they really are only going from one part of their large range to another. I wonder how they know when it’s time to come north again.

I have also often wondered what they talk about in the early morning and early evening; the concert also seems somehow different at different times of the year. The sound of birdsong is the most difficult to put on paper. I like to imagine it as being bright and sprightly in the morning, and perhaps becoming a bit like a lullaby as evening approaches. Lately I’ve been thinking, does it become eager to get going as ours does before a trip? It is so pleasant to sit in the evening and listen to the conversations.

Occasionally we have a murder of crows stop in to annoy us. They get up early which wouldn’t be bad if they weren’t such loudmouths. I grant you, they are attractive in a dark sort of Edgar Allen Poe way. Henry, our sometime resident crow whom I have written about in the past, delights in annoying Charlie, though he has finally realized that Charlie is no real threat, so he perches in a tree or on the fence and gives forth his obnoxious caw. I think the reason I don’t like Henry is that I realize he is smarter than I am. Since the drought has dragged on, the birdbath is sometimes shallow or dry, and Henry doesn’t leave many gifts for me to clean up. He is playing a tit for tat game.

Today we picnicked in the park under a brilliant clean washed sky. The geese stayed their distance, and though we saw hundreds of seagulls off in the distance across the lake, none came to join us. They have been communing with the weather people who say more rain is in the offing, and they may get their wings wet.

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

21 thoughts on “WINGED MIGRANTS”

  1. We were just speculating today about whether most of the hummingbirds are going south. I ran out of granulated sugar to make nectar and decided to use an organic sugar which is slightly brown. The hummingbirds seem to love this concoction. Maybe that nectar will keep them around longer. The biggest mystery here on the Rancho is where the owls have gone. Not many hoot-hooting in the night. I really miss them.


    1. I’m sure they like the new nectar. It’s a change from plain old sugar. I don’t know if they are going to migrate, but there are certainly a lot more of them in the past 2 weeks fighting over the food source. Funny you mention your owls, as we heard one several nights ago. He doesn’t come often. I think perhaps his food pantry is empty. Given his diet, I am pleased that he or someone else has cleared it out.


    1. Thank you Gill. I didn’t know hummingbirds were scarce in your area. They are quite funny birds to watch. So small yet so cranky. The one who has decided to perch on a leaf near the feeder is so tiny and weighs so little he doesn’t even make the leaf wiggle.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I had more time to learn from them. Since I have been handicapped I don’t get out to where the good ones are. This is such a lovely time of year and we have been lucky to get out and enjoy the scenery. Rain has begun here in California though not yet in our neighborhood.


  2. Just yesterday I saw a flock of “whatevers” migrating — or at least going from wherever to wherever — in great Vs. They weren’t geese or sandhill cranes, and they weren’t an of the waterbirds I’m familiar with. But they were elegant, and fast flyers. I surmised they were eager to get the trip over with, and start enjoying life wherever they have those reservations.


    1. I wonder what they were. I read a fascinating study about how high they fly. The studied messenger pigeons by putting them under pressure and found that they suffered no discomfort even as high as 35,000-40-000. When they took them back to normal they simply flew off without even a thank you. Haven’t you wondered about their flight height? Sometimes we can hear but not see that great “V”.


  3. Just yesterday I was entertained by the sight of crows diving in and out of climbing vines while the rain poured down. I don’t know what the object of the exercise was, but it was a beautiful sight.


  4. They pack their suitcases and head south – sometimes flying as far as Ecuador! Yes, the migrants are arriving here, perhaps they want to test to see if water flushes clockwise or counterclockwise as they cross that invisible line!


    1. I imagine my hummingbirds are arriving about now. The die-hards are still here scolding if their feeder isn’t full. Amazing little creatures, they cause me to waste a great deal of time simply watching them quarrel.

      BTW, Linda Leinen introduced us and I like your site very much. Your artwork is stunning.


  5. I don’t really know which ones go your way. Of course with such monotone weather here many simply stay. Lots of water birds. I don’t see as many as I used to though. Great Blue Heron, pelicans, black capped pelican mostly. Nothing too exciting.


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