Crows!

Dear Liza,

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Resting flock

The other day I was noticing the tiny birds who somehow make a living during this cold weather. They eat seeds from the thousands of trees and bushes in the neighborhood. The bigger birds make a living, too, eating pretty much anything they can find. Pizza boxes, unfortunate critters, and fruit still on the tree make up a fine diet for them.

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Lone Crow

This morning, I could not help but notice the crows! Living as we do between the forest of Laurelhurst Park and the Lone Fir Cemetery (which now has hundreds of trees, not just the one), we have more than our share of crows.

 

This morning, they were so loud I had a look out the window.

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Murder of Crows!

 

I don’t know if you know this, but there is a special word for a flock of crows: It is called a MURDER. That being the case, we had multiple murders on our street this morning.

Just another wonderful day in Portland.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Thinking about Birds (2)

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Dear Liza,

Today the weather changed from sunny and cold to dark and cold…the sky was a flat grey, and all the bare trees were silhouettes against the sky. After a long morning of studying history, I went out walking, to see what I could see.

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Trees against the grey sky

 

 

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Rose Hips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heard dozens of tiny birds chirping, and saw them swooping low between the bushes. As soon as I stopped or got close, they would freeze and become invisible. I stood as still as I could, but they knew I was there. I was lucky to get one picture from the birds who flew by.

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Then I started wondering, what do these tiny birds eat in the winter? There is no more fruit on the trees, and the worms must all have gone into hibernation by now. As I looked more closely in the yard where they had been so busy, I saw them: seeds. Hundreds of tiny seeds on plants which become beautiful in a very different way this time of year. Most of the seeds were so small, they didn’t show up in pictures!

Abundant rose bushes, full of color and grace in summer in this City of Roses, have become stark sticks with bright orange rose hips. The seed pod of the rose, these are full of food for the wintering birds.

Thousands of cones from the Douglas Fir (Oregon’s State Tree) lay all over the neighborhood, and are swarmed over and pecked at by more tiny birds.

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Pink berries

As I walked and looked carefully, I saw that many of the bushes had tiny seeds still clinging to their branches. I guess it makes sense; the birds wouldn’t be here if there was nothing for them to eat.

I am glad I went out walking to see yet another part of this wonderful city!

Love,

Grandma Judy