I’ve just wasted half an hour trying to identify a bird I saw this afternoon. That’s not entirely the truth. I didn’t just see one of these birds, I must have seen 20 of them. Smallish, brown-grey birds with tapered heads and a hint of red on the wing.
They were out in full force from about 11AM – 2PM today, flitting about amongst all the trees in our neighborhood. I mistook them for woodpeckers at first, what with their pointed heads in profile. They were too quick and small-bodied to be woodpeckers, though.
While I was taking some tools back to the garage after working out back I caught a brilliant display. At least a dozen of the birds were in simultaneous flight over our driveway. They would bank quickly, dive and then almost stop in mid-air before finding branches to perch upon. After about 30 seconds of watching this continuous dance of wings, I realized they were eating very tiny flying insects. If I stood still I could squint to see their insect quarry and hear the clack of their hungry beaks.
I was so amazed by the sight, I called Jenn and Rae to see them fly and eat. We watched for a few minutes and were utterly stunned by the mid-day swarm. Bugs and birds in an aerial play for our amusement. Looking above the street in both directions, we could see similar scenes unfolding. They seemed to be everywhere – all out and about in the early afternoon, all looking for a meal.
After Raelyn napped and we were on the back porch enjoying the breeze and the warm spring air, the only birds around were the occassional Cardinal. I have a picture of a particularly beautiful male, but I wish I had a picture of my as-yet-unnamed bird from earlier. If anyone can help me identify this awesome, inspiring, insect-eating percher, please let me know.