As most of my friends know, I took a tumble in early August and broke my right wrist, so I have been confined to a nursing home ever since I got out of the hospital. That’s only because I can’t manage very well by myself with only one arm. However, it’s doing well and I’ll soon be out of a cast and then I can do a great deal more, I hope, even though it will still be stiff and sore.
The day I came in here was a around the 10th or 11th of August. The first day I was here, there was steady movement of chipping sparrows through the little aspen grove outside my window. These birds were moving in ahead of a cold front that came down out of the north and obviously were migrating birds since they didn’t stop long to eat at the feeder but kept moving steadily through the day.
It was interesting to see the fact that even here the birds were migrating and moving steadily south, so like it or not, winter is coming. That same day I saw Steller’s jays and other resident birds that seemed to be settled in pretty much for the winter.
I have a feeder outside my window that friends put up for me, but right now it’s not working because it’s one of those that trips when a heavy object gets on the feeder tray and closes. A squirrel got at it, so the door has dropped down. Neither birds nor squirrels can eat, so I’ll have to get someone to fix that for me.
This week, on Wednesday while I was at lunch, once more there was a sudden gust of wind and then a steady breeze blowing that brought many birds. I was at lunch looking out the window in the dining room, and there was just a steady stream of little birds flitting through the branches, all headed south. This was another front that moved down out of Canada, and most of the birds that I could see well enough to identify were yellow-rumped warblers.
In fact, later in the day, I had to go to the doctor and a friend took me. I also stopped at the bank to do some business on my way. I found a dead yellow-rumped warbler on the pavement below the glass windows.
Many, many, many birds die in migration every year from hitting windows and particularly on big buildings that have glass exteriors or plastic exteriors that reflect the world around them. The birds can’t tell the difference in migration from a real tree and a reflected tree in the building when the light is right, and they will fly to their death by trying to land in that tree reflection. Sad, but true.
Migrations of these birds are a very dangerous thing, and thousands of them die every year. It’s a hazardous thing to travel thousands of miles, and these tiny birds are really quite helpless against many of the natural obstacles in the world.
Thursday was quite quiet. There were no birds moving after the front that went through on Wednesday. Now this morning, there’s slight movement again but no big front pushing them. Just a bird moving once and awhile. And again, they’re mostly yellow-butts, or butter-butts, as they call the yellow-rumped warblers.
There’s a pair of Steller’s jays that come regularly to the feeders nearby and I see them more every day. Crows and ravens and magpies, that’s about all that it’s been my pleasure to see from my window.
I hope very soon to be able to see more than I can from here, but it won’t be too long before I’ll be able to go home and once my own feeders are filled again, I hope there will be a wider choice.
There were gray-headed juncos beneath the feeder here this week. I think I counted six of them on Sunday, but I don’t know that those are migrants. They were probably here this summer nesting in the area and have stayed on into the fall.
We have juncos all winter. Most of them come down from father north and winter here, so we usually have four or five different forms of the dark-eyed juncos at our feeders all year long, which makes it interesting to watch and see what’s moved in from farther north.
They will be coming in in greater numbers very soon now. I used to always get the first Oregon juncos at my feeder at home on Sept. 29 or 30, but we’re not quite up to that date yet.
Outside my window, I watched fall come to Evergreen. There’s a small aspen grove in a little dip behind the building here, and it’s slowly turning color although it’s got so much black spot that it won’t be pretty even when they do turn. That’s one of the diseases that seem to hit aspen trees without killing them usually, but they don’t produce as much brilliant color because the leaves are all marked with black spots. It’s a fungal disease, I believe.
Other things that are blooming out my window are the rough alyssum, a white top that looks somewhat like yarrow except it’s certainly is a very persistent weed that we don’t need. It’s not a native. It’s a European import that spreads rapidly.
We also have the lovely seven clumps of yellow asters bloom every fall. That is a native and is very much like the sunflower except it’s usually shorter. It does very well in our dry climate.
Most of the other flowers have gone. There is still one persistent Canadian thistle blooming along the wall. It should be pulled before it spreads and we have more. A yellow butterfly just flitted by, and I can see a big grasshopper of some sort making huge leaps out here on the hillside, but I couldn’t identify it from this far away even with binoculars.
I don’t see much else although there were more flowers in bloom earlier. I can see one rose bush along the bank. It’s a wild rose, which the most common, it seems to me. I can identify it by the color of its leaves as they turn a lovely vermillion red this time of year.
Off to the right side are a few yarrows running up the hill and some pasture or fringe sage – nothing unusual. The land around the building has been mowed pretty consistently to keep down the weeds, so there’s not a great deal growing here.
I couldn’t be happy if I couldn’t see something natural outside my window, so it’s been a blessing to be in this room that has this lovely spot.
I hope I’ll be writing from home fairly soon, and I hope you’ll bear with me until I’m able to write a little better. Unfortunately, I broke my right wrist, so it’s been very difficult for me to write or do many things because I’m very right-handed.
Good-bye to you all for now, and let’s see what next week brings.