Pompous headline but as you can imagine, I was desperate for a word starting with O. I am also a nerd who loves birds.
Our house overlooks a small wetland area surrounded by trees. When we first moved in, my husband kept calling it a swamp and I would correct him to say wetland (must have been a realtor in another life). The fact is I was a little concerned about living next to a swamp as well, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the wetland is rich with many species of birds.
The largest bird to visit our backyard is the wild turkey. We have two competing flocks of turkeys, who circle each other like the Sharks and the Jets, and like West Side Story, they live in the same neighborhood but aren’t happy about it. As we ease into Spring, the toms are showing off their giant tail feathers to all the hens which means baby poults are soon to follow.
Another huge bird hanging out in the wetland woods is the Pileated woodpecker. A gorgeous bird, with its stark black and white body and tall red crest, it is the largest woodpecker in the U.S. I am guessing he is a bad ass in the bird kingdom because when he lands at the feeder, all the smaller birds scatter.
My favorite is the Barred Owl. These are silent and tricky birds despite their sweet visage. Their brown and white feathers provide the perfect camouflage which makes it difficult to see them in the tree branches when they come out at dawn and dusk to hunt. They have such practiced patience, waiting in the tree for some small mouse to cross its path.
In addition to this list of big bad boys, there is a never-ending stream of finches, chickadees, orioles, nuthatches, hummingbirds and other small birds that visit our feeders and we never get tired of the view.