New Life



I found a bird’s nest in our hanging flower basket on the front porch. Good thing I didn’t take it out – the next day there was an egg in it! And the day after that (which is today), there was another egg. I think it might be a tree swallow or a common grackle. It is small, white, and has some very small black smudges on it (maybe dirt, maybe egg design – I know the grackle has some black smudges on it’s eggs).

Any thoughts on what kind of bird it is? We’ll know soon enough when Mom comes to incubate the eggs. I’ll probably miss the hatching since I’ll be out of town for the next 6 weeks speaking at camps.

A Date With My Mother-In-Law

I love my mother-in-law. Sometimes I actually feel like I get along better with her than my own wife does. Today, my wife spent the day with a friend and I was left to chill with Carolyn. We went up to Barr Lake State Park just northeast of Denver in hopes of catching some good bird sightings. We went to the nature center and they told us to be on the look-out for the nesting Bald Eagle at the 2.5 mile marker on the trail. We hiked our way to the spot, checking off a few birds on the way (Northern Flicker, Red-Winged Blackbird, Belted Kingfisher).

We finally spotted the lone tree out over the water. Built within the upper branches was an enormous nest built for an avian king. Atop the huge nest of large sticks sat the mother of all birds – the bald eagle. We weren’t sure if it was the male or the female, since they both have the bald white head. We were told that mama eagle was sitting on her eggs which were about to hatch any day now. We never saw any chicks pop up out of the nest but we did get quite a show from the eagle itself.

About a minute into watching the nesting eagle, it jumped up, spread its majestic wings and dove towards the water. We lost sight of it as it descended behind some trees. About a minute later, it re-emerged into our view and approached the nest. This time, it had some lunch in its talons (either a fish or another unlucky bird). Perhaps it was feeding itself or it was bringing food to the new chicks down in the nest – we couldn’t tell if there were any little ones. Either way, it was a magnificent sight.

On the way home from the park, we stopped for lunch at, you guessed it, Chick-Fil-A.

My Updated Birdwatching Life List

I started birdwatching in May 2009 and here is my list of birds observed in the wild.

Northern Cardinal
Blue Jay
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Mourning Dove
Black Pole Warbler
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Common Grackel
American Redstart
Bay Breasted Warbler
Carolina Chickadee
Spotted Sandpiper
Redwinged Blackbird
Black and White Warbler
Prothonatary Warbler
Turkey Vulture
Carolina Wren
American Goldfinch
Tufted Titmouse
Northern Mockingbird
Cowbird
Mallard Duck
Gray Catbird
Indigo Bunting
Orchard Oriole
Great-Tailed Grackle
Belted Kingfisher
Barn Swallow
Red-Headed Woodpecker
Black-Capped Chickadee
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Red-Tailed Hawk
Osprey
Glossy Ibis
Black-Crowned Night Heron
Great Blue Heron
Double-Breasted Cormorant
Great Egret
Little Egret
Wild Turkey
Northern Bobwhite
Canada Goose
Killdeer
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Common Tern
Rock Pigeon
Eastern Bluebird
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Chipping Sparrow
Purple Finch

I Found a New Hobby

Can you name that bird?

I never thought I would admit this, but I just got the “bird-watching” bug this morning. My friend, Kevin, took me on a hike near the James River with a few binoculars and some bird books. He has been birding for a few years and this was my first day. Coincidentally, we happened to run into one of the most “famous” birders in Virginia (according to Kevin). This kind sir (from England originally) knew all there is to know about birds (he called it his “obsession”). Because of his help, I saw 25 unique birds in the wild in a matter of 2 hours of birding – most of them with my binoculars. Here is the list of what I got to see today:

Cardinal
Blue Jay
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Mourning Dove
Black Pole Warbler
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Common Grackel
American Redstart
Bay Breasted Warbler
Carolina Chickadee
Spotted Sandpiper
Redwinged Blackbird
Black and White Warbler
Prothonatary Warbler
Turkey Vulture
Carolina Wren
American Goldfinch
Tufted Titmouse
Mockingbird
Cowbird
Mallard Duck
Graycat Bird
Indigo Bunting
Orchard Oriole

Kevin said that learning something new like this allows us to name that which is naturally around us – and the better we get at that, the more we expand our experience in life – which leads to greater joy and appreciation of God’s wonderful Creation.

Again, name that bird (hint, its in the list above)