Reply To: Animals for Nonfiction Enthusiasts

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Andrew Schmidt


Thanks. Yes, yellow cardinals are cool, but from research, someone has noted there is “less-than-one-in-a-million chance” of seeing one, but when one is recorded, I hear news goes crazy about them in the birding community.

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are about just as cool as northern cardinals, but I have only seen one once in my lifetime at the feeder on a crisp new morning. I’ve seen Baltimore orioles too, but they are rare visitors to the birdfeeder that I currently have, as are red-headed woodpeckers and cedar waxwings, but we have a lot of other woodpeckers that visit (or well, have visited. They haven’t visited quite so much this time of year.) Currently, the birds that visit our feeders the most are black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, goldfinches (in their winter morph, which I suspect they molted at the beginning of September), and nuthatches. Cardinals usually visit really early in the morning or late in the evening, but it is gradually getting colder, and therefore we will likely have a lot more birds soon, and therefore more cardinals. The robins and mourning doves are beginning to make more frequent visits, and I heard a blue jay was spotted by one my siblings just the other day.

We don’t get ravens all that much around here, but occasionally I might see one when I am driving away or to home – or maybe those are just crows. But we do get red-winged blackbirds (early in the season), plus starlings and maybe grackles, but I’m not sure if they’re just another blackbird species. Early in the season and in winter, we also get a lot of house sparrows, dark-eyed juncos, and brown-headed cowbirds (one of the few birds I don’t like, because of their parasitic and ruthless nature; I think they showed up last time in late winter and early spring). Winter around the feeders is a time of great opportunity to observe more kinds of birds than any other time in the year.

Just a couple days ago I saw vultures soaring around our house and I found myself admiring their grace in the air. We also occasionally have geese flock over our hour, like really early in the morning and honking loudly. I don’t usually see American kestrels that often, but I have and know they are native to where I live. Once when I went camping with my dad and brother, we decided to go kayaking in the lake. Afloat in still water shrouded with lily pads and little fish darting around, swam majestic white swans. We got rather close to them, but not too close… swans can be very dangerous waterfowl if provoked.


Mythology is really cool to study, but I have not taken a look at it in a while. I hope you have fun writing that book of yours. A couple years ago, I remember reading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and loving it. He is absolutely the best at combining mythology, action, character, and theme together to create an enriching and very hilarious story for younger readers. Have you read his books?

Also, thanks on the complement.

Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
Me: "Write every inch of your future."

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