Wednesday, September 13, 2006

So Long to Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are heralding the arrival of the movers. I’m moving to Tucson, Arizona tomorrow to start a new life and have new adventures, but this week has been bittersweet saying goodbye to friends, family, and familiarity. I’ve been keenly aware of the many eastern species that I will no longer hear with such regularity: Blue Jay, Gray Catbird, Eastern Towhee, Downy Woodpecker, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, and even Common Grackle. These species have been a huge part of my birding life since I was a small girl and I can still remember my delight at first attracting some of them to the feeders at our house on South 15th Street.

There was a grape arbor in the backyard that had a small wooden shelf that the former owner used as a planting shelf. My mother encouraged me to put some breadcrumbs out. After a few weeks, we added store-bought variety birdseed and then sunflower seeds. The Northern Cardinals also came, as did the American Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, and the Black-capped Chickadees. This started what became a life-long passion for studying birds.

There are some species I can look forward to seeing in Tucson also. Of course, the ever present European Starling, House Finch, and House Sparrow cover the country, so there’s no chance of leaving them behind. I was also pleased to see that I will find Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-horned Owl, and Dark-eyed Junco in my new surroundings. However, on the other side of this bittersweetness are the new species I can look forward to seeing: Sandhill Crane, Gambel’s Quail, Greater Roadrunner, and the many hummingbird species!

Today I will say “:goodbye” to my long-time friends, but tomorrow I will say “hello” to new ones.

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