Had one of those dreams last night where I am surrounded by strange birds and trying frantically to identify them. Last night it was ducks. I was at this strange beach, and there were ducks everywhere, in brilliant, bizarre colors, and I was trying to identify them. (The only name I recall was the “Kenyan Anae,” a salmon colored duck with a wave shaped back and crest. I only remember this because the man I was with in the dream was arguing with me over whether it was a standard Anae or a Kenyan.) There were also tiny monkeys everywhere, but I was primarily after the ducks.

I woke up and staggered out of the bedroom, feeling the vague disappointment that I always feel when one of the birding dreams proves to be a dream (and also the guy I was with in the dream was pretty hot, and a birdwatcher to boot, so it was almost as disappointing that HE wasn’t real!) to discover that the juncos have returned. Juncos are small, round-bodied birds with wee little pale beaks. We get slate-sided juncos around here, so they’re dark on top, and the little beaks stand out, like pale seeds, against the dark grey feathers. They’re very cute, and they only show up in the fall and winter. Whatever the calendar may say, it’s not really fall until the juncos are hopping around on the ground and picking up fallen tidbits. (They won’t come to a conventional feeder, although if you put a platform feeder on the ground, they’ll eat from that.) There’s also a scattering of streak-breasted sparrows, which I haven’t yet ID’d, becaues…y’know…sparrows.

One class of birds is notably lacking from the feeder–I haven’t had any woodpeckers yet. Or nuthatches, for that matter. Generally a downy or a red-bellied are among the first to appear, and the white-breasted nuthatches give the impression that they have staked out this spot for the last six months on the hope that somebody MIGHT put a suet feeder there. I’m wondering if there are simply the wrong kind of trees here–it’s a dense tangle of undergrowth, rather than the straight, medium-sized pines, so perhaps there simply aren’t any locally.  Which is sad, because woodpeckers are a delight, but perhaps there’ll be some other new residents as compensation.

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