Feathered backyard visitors

As I was eating breakfast this morning, a Steller’s jay alighted on a branch of one of the large coniferous trees in my sister’s backyard. Oo! It had been a few weeks since I had seen one. I ran upstairs to get my camera. When I returned, it was gone. I sat at the kitchen table and took a few bites of croissant. It came back! Slowly, I approached the window and took a quick picture through the glass. When I opened the window, it flew away. I could still see it, but it was a bit far and partially obscured by branches. Oh! There was more than one jay – three! – flying in and out of sight, from tree branches, to window sills, to house gutters and to places unknown to me.

I stayed by the open window. Three American starlings settled at the top of the dancing tree. All I could see was their black silhouettes. Should I take a picture? I watched them for a while, then grabbed my camera. They were gone. Maybe they would come back. I kept looking at the top of the dancing tree. A crow landed. When I took its picture, it departed as another crow approached a slightly lower branch. Lucky shot!

Crows are ubiquitous in East Vancouver. However, they don’t hang out for very long in the backyard trees. They briefly alight in one of the tall conifers while flying through. And Steller’s jays rarely come by. Dark eyed juncos and chickadees visit every day, rain or shine. They seem to like the short trees. Sometimes they’ll sit on a branch and peck at it for a minute or so. They fill the backyard with chirpy music. Dark eyed juncos fan out their tail feathers when they fly, revealing a dark central stripe flanked by bright white outer feathers.

A lone robin makes an occasional appearance. A few house finches, male and female, also visit the garden once in a while. And I once saw a greyish hummingbird (maybe a female Anna’s).

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