I have temporarily moved my work computer to next to the window of my office, where I can look out on the ponds, which have been discovered big time by birds this year. I keep seeing gorgeous birds that look unfamiliar to me, only to learn that they are the 3rd most common bird in the area, or something. Oh well, I still enjoy them.
Here's an example. Barry and I spotted a gorgeous little brownish bird with a striking black and white striped cap. He was busily eating our grass seed from the bare spot we are trying to get greened up again (from the geothermal wells). Turns out he's so common, most birders don't even bother to write him down. But he was charming. Except for the grass seed part.
A few days ago we saw a pair of these: They are rose-breasted grosbeaks. Again, I got all excited, even though it turns out they are dime-a-dozen birds.
Our ponds are attracting so much spring bird life that I am getting quite an education in birdie sex. It's pretty steamy out there at times. I had to laugh when I saw what I thought was some kind of smallish pigeon, doing a dance; turns out it was just a grackle, puffed up so huge that he was at least twice the size as the lady grackle he was dancing for! She was less impressed than I was. The male robins are still fighting like little roosters, all claws and flapping feathers. There's a pair of mourning doves who are quite mellow in comparison. Everybody likes to take birdbaths where the waterfall comes down over the rocks and they can splash without danger of getting in too deep.
A hawk discovered our little birdie Eden a few days ago and murdered one of the birds. I didn't see which one it was, but the hawk sat right down on the grass next to the pond and tore it to shreds. I raced out there and it flew away with most of the bird, leaving a few parts. I was afraid the hawk would be back, seeing as the pickings were so easy here, but he hasn't returned that I have seen. I know hawks have to eat, too, but not MY birds, if you please! I tried to identify the hawk but could not find anything that looked just like it. It was mostly brown, with lighter colors underneath but not white, just sort of buff. I was mostly looking at the victim rather than the culprit, so I am not probably describing him (or her) right.
I am obviously no birder, and I know what a robin is, and that's about the extent of my bird identification skills. But I have found that if you put "brown bird with black and white striped head" into Google, within a couple of hits you will ID your bird. Pretty neat.