Look, a bird

“What kind of bird is that?” my husband asked a few weeks ago.

He was watching a few birds build nests in our new birdhouse. It was interesting to see – one bird was inside the house, while the other flew back and forth outside, then handed twigs and grass in through the little hole. Their version of moving the furniture into a new home, I guess.

I had been watching them for a while, but that didn’t mean I knew the answer to his question.

Just a few days later, Daily Globe photographer Brian Korthals walked into the newsroom.

“Hey, Justine,” he said, stopping next to my desk and showing me a picture on the digital screen of his camera. “What’s this?”

I looked closely at the tiny picture.

“It’s a bird,” I replied.

He laughed.

“I knew that,” he said. “I was wondering what kind of bird.”

The most I could do was narrow it down for him.

“It’s not a goose, an eagle or an emu,” I stated. “Not a swan, not a cardinal.”

OK, so I also knew it wasn’t a seagull, bluejay, owl or mallard duck. Definitely not an ostrich, and probably not a flamingo. Other than that, I had no idea. I’m not a bird-learned person. I can tell a crow from a wren, am aware that domestic turkeys generally don’t fly, and recognize the call of a whippoorwill. I know that orioles like oranges, hummingbirds can fly backward and parakeets are messy. I know martins eat mosquitoes.

I have recipes and the ability to make pheasants, geese, turkeys and ducks into supper.

Courtesy of my neighbor, I now know the birds nesting in the birdhouse are English sparrows, commonly known as house sparrows. After watching them for quite a few days, I can now tell the males from the females because of their coloring.

That pretty much taps out my bird knowledge.

I can appreciate the grace as they fly through the air. I have learned to duck when the swallows dive bomb us in front of the garage. I love listening to the beautiful chorus of cheeps, chirps and song of the various birds, especially in the spring.

Other than, all I can really say is, “Look, a bird.”