Monday, June 11, 2007

Birding by Bike

I went out for a ride today, later than I'd planned (car oil change). As I was riding back, I suddenly heard this LOUD rustle sound. I know "rustle" makes you think soft, but think LOUD. Of course, I looked over, because, holy cow, loud rustling sound!

And there, about 10 feet off the trail, a turkey had flown up, and within an instant settled back down again. The trail at that point is in a grassy area, and by grassy I don't mean lawn, I mean prairie type grass about four feet high. So I hadn't seen the bird, and I suspect she hadn't seen me, but when I'd whirred by, I guess I startled her? She sure startled me! I almost fell off!

I also saw a Killdeer the other day, and a Catbird today. (Along with the usual suspects: Robins, Cardinals, LBJs.)

On the deck lately: a Red Winged Blackbird has figured out that it really likes suet, and comes to visit a couple times a day. He has competition there from a pair of Red Breasted Grosbeaks, but when he shows up, whichever Grosbeak is there decamps quickly! I've only seen the Grosbeaks there together once, but I think there's a nesting pair in the area, because I see a male and female fairly regularly.

House Finches (a pair) and a Song Sparrow (one at a time, anyways) at the seed, and lots of Goldfinches at the thistle bag (I see six or seven hanging out, sometimes).

Bluebirds seem to be using the corner of the roof as a launching point for hunting, so I sometimes get to see them bring back a big bug and chow down there.

Tree Swallows and (I think) Barn Swallows blow me away. If I could fly, I'd like to fly as they do (as opposed to the turkey!).


I love the local bike shop. I stopped in today to see if they'd gotten a computer in for me, and one of the guys gave me a tire changing lesson. He had to change two, and I did the second one!

I know that sounds lame, but I haven't changed a bike tire since forever. And I'm the sort of learner who learns best by actually doing something rather than hearing or reading about it. (When I was a kid, my folks wouldn't let me get a driving license until I demonstrated that I could change a car tire. My first car tire flat was late on a rainy night, on the freeway. Happily, practice worked. I got out and lit my flares, changed the tire, and all was good.)


  1. I'm hopeless at learning bike repair unless I can do it myself -- I generally don't think of myself as a hands-on learner, but I guess I am.

  2. We have some sort of tiny bird currently picking away the bark on the honeysucke, we are sure he/she is building a nest with it somewhere close by.

    I love watching birds...

  3. Careful biking in the country, my sister almost rear-ended a moose one day... on her bike. She was on the shoulder of the road and the moose was eating weeds in the ditch, didn't hear her and didn't move. Luckily she looked up just in time to avoid hitting him in the rear. She was double lucky because moose have a reputation for getting messy when hit in the behind.

  4. I learn the same way. And I'm jealous of the birds! Though we did have a blue jay hopping around outside the big picture window last weekend (and by we, I mean me and the kitty, who was *most* excited.http

  5. I thought my dad was the only one who put flares into the vehicles he drove...I had to show I could change a tire prior to driving as well (and had to rotate the tires on my dad's car as proof).

    We have a red-winged blackbird that keeps running into an exam room window -- there's enough of a reflection that he thinks there's a rival close by, and he keeps attacking the reflection. That's an eye-opener in the middle of an examination!

    Happy trails!


  6. I've heard something like that loud rustling, and it was always startling. I flushed grouse, by accident (couldn't've done it on purpose!), when I was a kid. Glad you didn't fall off the bike!

  7. Oh, I love red-winged blackbirds! I saw so many of them when I was driving in Michigan for a conference!

  8. Dorothy W, I'm pretty good at figuring out basic mechanical stuff, but practice helps with most things for me.

    TBTAM, Oh, me too!

    Philosopy Factory, EEP! I do tend to see lots of deer, but I think they see me on my bike as a semi-predator, so they run. I hate to think if they decided to attack!

    Jane Dark, I love Stellar Jays, especially :)

    Artemis, Go get yourself some flares! I had a conure (type of small parrot) who got REALLY excited seeing himself in the mirror. It was funny.

    Gwen, I've never seen a grouse, though I did see a Bobwhite last year!

    Medieval Woman, They ARE very beautiful birds :)