The other day, the finches at the sunflower feeder included a male purple finch, the first in a long time. He flew off before I could get the camera, but the presence of our genuinely native finch, as opposed to the cousin that has made itself at home in West Virginia, made my day. That same day, I thought the spring warbler migration had started early when I saw a flash of yellow in the midst of the LBBs at the feeder. A yellow warbler, maybe? A pine warbler? A closer look revealed a goldfinch halfway to his mating plumage, and I was disappointed at seeing the familiar species. Then I remembered my excitement the first time I saw a goldfinch. I was walking across the campus at WVU in Morgantown when a flash of gold and black came swooping across the green, unlike anything I'd ever seen though I realized immediately what it must be. How could something so beautiful have become ordinary?
All of our regular visitors were once new and exciting, so my goal for this year is to re-appreciate them. After all, what could be more amusing than a chickadee taking one safflower seed at a time, cracking it open on the feeder pole, and then hopping back down to the tray feeder for another? There are surely softer-shelled seeds in some of the feeders, but this particular bird has zeroed in on this complicated process. If this chickadee were human, would it be a fan of artichokes?