Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Colorful birds

Barn swallow
We usually see a lot of barn swallows and tree swallows that show up when the weather warms and the flying insects emerge. We had a cold spring with frost as late as the second week of May this year. Maybe that's why I'm seeing very few barn swallows and what seems to be a smaller population of tree swallows. I read on the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife website that barn swallows have been in decline for the past 30 years. Two barn swallows surveyed my roof and talked to each other: Whaddya think...should we build here? I dunno...whaddya think? They visit me but seem to think there's too much birdie traffic to nest here. Check out my Swallows Gallery for more.

Varied thrush
Some random visitors swing by the front yard birdie spa from time to time. Here are two newbies. I have never seen a varied thrush before, although my Audubon field guide says that are fairly common and hang out with robins.

Also new to the birdie spa were two scrub jays. They visited the feeders for a short time and then were gone. Their favorite food is acorns and they are often credited with regenerating oak forests destroyed by fire or drought, because they bury more acorns than they eat.

Scrub jay
Speaking of oak forests, this is the last week for the Urban Forest Project banners in downtown Tacoma. My banner - which you can see up close and personal in front of the Marriott Courtyard on Pacific - will be turned into a very cool messenger bag sometime in June. You can also buy a really inexpensive print or T-shirt with my banner design to benefit Tacoma Urban Forest Project. Just search for my name on the site.

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