One of the questions I get asked alot is when did your interest in birds start? Or more importantly, when did I go from being a bird watcher to a “birder.”
We were slowly transforming the landscaping around our yard to berry-producing shrubs and pollinator friendly plants. We were taking care of the area in which we called home.
Around 2016 I began to notice a new bird around my home for the first time. It was also around this time that we had begun to replace drab, existing builder grade landscaping to native plants and native grasses. Later on…trees and shrubs too!
This new bird I took note of was unlike any backyard bird I had ever before seen. It spent most of its time in the air, for one. (Unlike the common feeder birds that I normally saw perched or feeding). It also had the most amazing colored feathers. It was snow white below, and Mediterranean blue above with long tuxedo-like tails. It was stunning. I was amazed to discover that this bird came to my backyard in the Spring, having traveled all the way from Central America!!!!! Let me repeat that, it traveled all the way from Central America.
From that moment, the view outside my windows and the area around my home became my distraction. It also became my passion. My family joined in, as they too noticed new things like the shapes of leaves. Not just a “tree”, but a white oak. Not just a bird, but an Eastern Bluebird.
Shortly thereafter, the area around our front and back yards became our everyday joy. Since that time, I see my backyard and front yard change not with months passing on the calendar. But instead, I notice changes in migration that bring new birds, I notice shadows that cast different lights, and I notice sounds of different creatures creating a host of sounds throughout the day and night. Changes that come because of the native plants we put there.
If the tree swallow could find my yard, there were things in my yard that we had that it wanted. We were slowly transforming the landscaping around our yard to berry-producing shrubs and pollinator friendly plants. We were taking care of the area in which we called home. But at the same time, the tree swallow called it home. We had an open area, once a stormwater detention basin with turf to a wildflower meadow with two strategically placed nest boxes in the middle. It was the view from my kitchen window, a view we coined Bird TV.
To the tree swallow, it was a nursery and place to raise their young. I provide the prime habitat, and the rent they pay in exchange is insect control and entertainment. And to me, their chortles and sounds they make in flight are the sounds of summer to me. When they leave our yard in mid July, I know it is a only matter of time before the bells of back to school shopping begin to ring.