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Piedmont Birds
The Piedmont area of North Carolina, including Guilford County and Greensboro, is blessed with an abundance of bird life, including a thriving family of bald eagles!
Thankfully over the last few decades more and more people have come to appreciate the beauty and wonder and bewilderment of these animals that fly in and out of our homes and gardens, brighten our mornings and evenings with their songs, leave us and come back again.
There is even a retail chain of stores devoted to the housing, feeding, and care of birds.
We are especially blessed to have in our area an active group of volunteers who keep track of local bird life, lead local bird sighting expeditions, and generally help all who have interest in learning to love and appreciate these our feathered neighbors. This group is called the Piedmont Bird Club. They have an actively updated web site, kept by Louise Brown, as dedicated an enthusiast as you will find. Louise has also kindly written for us three articles on birds found here in the Triad, the Wood Thrush, the Red-Headed Woodpecker, and the White-Throated Sparrow.
They make life easier for the rest of us by even including a very useful guide entitled Finding Birds in Guilford County.
I myself am just a beginner at birding. Maybe that is putting it too generously. But I find few things more satisfying than sitting out on my patio with my binoculars and listening to, and watching if I can, whatever birds happen to show up. I like to sit and watch.
Just yesterday I was watching a bird as common as our American Robin. I have always been both humored and humbled by the hunting habits of robins, the way they tilt their heads, the quick downward strike, the upward pitch of the head with wiggly worm in beak. There seems to be some controversy as to how much the bird is “seeing” movement of the worms and how much the bird is “hearing” or perhaps “feeling” the movement.
I know that I have gotten down on all fours close to the ground and tried to do my eyes in that certain way where you can’t see detail but you can see movement, and I surely never can see (a nod to Carole King), the earth move under my feet. So I am a little partial to the hearing theory.
I said awed by the robin, the most common and harmless of birds. Well, harmless to you and me maybe. But just imagine. Imagine that you were an inch tall running around in the grass. That sweet most common of harmless birds would be a terrifying beast. And if he didn’t get you a bluebird almost certainly would. I am just glad I am bigger than he, or she, is.
And I am thankful for those songs that I awake to every morning. I cannot imagine life without them.
Joel Gillespie 2006

Back Porch Art by Mark Ferencik 1998