Late Night Open Thread

I had several things I wanted to write about today and never got to them- I had some thoughts on impeachment. Guess I will save it for tomorrow. Instead of doing what I should have done, which was write the posts to help me think through my thoughts, I got sucked into listening to bird songs on the Audobon Society web page.

I’m really totally into birds this summer for some reason. I think it is because the feeders have been up for a few years and I’m really starting to draw a crowd. That, and my yard is starting to come together, so I just enjoy sitting out there and looking at the plants and flowers and birds, and leisurely putzing around the yard. The two previous years, I would just go out there and everything was just such a mess and not showing much progress that it gave me anxiety. Now, it is starting to come together and I appreciate it more. I can see my wisteria coming in and climbing the fence instead of just being several sad sticks with a few leaves, my blackberries and blueberries have lots of blossoms, the perennials are coming in thick and lush, the bulbs are coming up in the right places, the day lilies are starting to come in correctly and where I wanted them, and so forth. The yard is just starting to make sense.

I’m weird in that way- I like a blank slate and I love old broken down houses (and dogs and animals and yards), because I can see so much potential, but the other half of me just gets overwhelmed and I don’t know where to start and it just seems hopeless. It’s good to have my dad and Tammy around, although he hasn’t even been over this year for obvious reasons, because they are like machines when they see disorder.

I’m pretty good at getting things together and having a vision for things- it’s kind of how I write, too. Whenever I have to write something (papers for schools when I was a student and that sort of thing, long blog posts these days), I never was the person who would just sit down and start writing. I’d sit and think about it, and I’d let a paper sit in the back of my head for several weeks, adding mental notes, thinking things though, chewing on things, changing my approach, thinking how I wanted to start and finish, the parts in between, etc., and then, without ever even planning on it, I’d sit down and it would just come out. And then I would just let it sit for a couple days, re-read it, make changes. I don’t know if everyone is like that, but that’s how I roll.

Tammy and my dad, on the other hand, just GO AT IT. Gerald is the same way. I shop for the house that way, too- I but things for the yard or house when they are on sale and don’t even use it for six months, a year- to the point it irritates people. And then when the time is right I just do it.

Back to the birds- you can really spend a lot of time listening to the calls. I recognized a lot of the ones form my region, and I think I am to the point that I can identify by voice most of the birds in the yard. I am excited for my coffee and morning birdwatch tomorrow.

I’m rambling again.

31 replies
  1. 1
    JCJ says:

    I blame Albatrossity and his amazing bird photos in the On The Road posts

  2. 2
    Duane says:

    Best you studied up on birds today. The impeachment thing was pretty well covered.

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    Nice to have two posts in a row about regular stuff. I am a major procrastinator, never go at anything.

  4. 4
    dnfree says:

    You are enjoying the fruits of your labor, and the animals who are benefiting. That’s a good thing.

    Personally, ever since I learned that birds are descended from dinosaurs, I enjoy them even more.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dnfree: It’s all fun and games until your budgie tries to gut you.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    meander says:

    Birds can be a great joy.

    I’ve been having a good bird month:
    * Enjoying the Cal Falcon cam, which is watching a pair of peregrine falcons trying to raise two chicks at the top of Sather Tower (the Campanile) on the UC Berkeley campus (watch on YouTube or Facebook). The chicks are trading their fuzzy down for real feathers.
    * Via the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast I was introduced to the Sound Escapes podcast and the Bird Note podcast (a 2 minute show, usually about just one bird species).
    * As I was unlocking my office door today, a female Anna’s hummingbird zoomed down in front of me and gave me a stare, and then buzzed around a bit while chirping. Once inside the office, I looked out the window for a few minutes and eventually found what she was angry about: I was close to her nest. From the 2nd floor room I can barely see it through the leaves, so I’ll bring my binoculars so I can start watching without disturbing her. Good luck little bird!

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    Love your rambling, Cole.
    Always good thoughts 🤗

  9. 9
    joel hanes says:

    John, you’re about ready for the chapter in _A_Sand_County_Almanac_ in which Leopold goes out at 4:00 AM with a pot of coffee and a notebook, and writes down the species of every birdsong, in the order they begin to sing in the dawn. Or the chapter about banding chickadees.

    Right mindfulness, o Gautama. There’s nothing like being present in the moment.

  10. 10
    Juju says:

    After listening to some bird songs, I think i’d Like my ringtone to be the call of the Atlantic Puffin.

  11. 11
    Ruckus says:

    My life for a couple of decades has been all rambling. Some coherency along the way but mostly rambling. And it never felt like it was before that. I wonder if it’s age, or situational. Or both. People interest me. Not all of them of course, some I don’t want to know about or have anything to do with. But people interest me. How are they getting along, how do they feel about others, are they kind in some way, do they appreciate life, even when it sucks? I like dogs, they seem to just like to exist. Cats have to be something where ever they are. Mostly in charge. Been close with 2 cats, one slept on my feet, a sensation I didn’t particularly like, the other one was queen of the castle but would sleep beside me and purr. It was comforting.
    See rambling.

  12. 12
    trollhattan says:

    Tedeschi-Trucks Band tonight, Los Lobos opening.

    Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

  13. 13
    frosty says:

    Good rambles, Cole. My wife built a fish pond and frogs moved in. The birds use it for a bath. We have a small patio with all of the above and it’s an oasis.

    Thanks for this nearly top 10,000 blog and the FPers who write here. You’ve kept me grounded and semi-sane for almost 10 years now.

    My next dangerous move is to get a bird book and start keeping track!

  14. 14
    hells littlest angel says:

    I really enjoyed this post. You are one f nature’s noblemen.

  15. 15
    Stephen says:

    If you’re into birdsong & nature sounds in general, a good place with downloads & CDs is

    As you can gather from the URL, I’ve been doing a lot of listening to Australian birdsong, because that’s where I live!

  16. 16
    sm*t cl*de says:


    Australian birdsong

    Australian birds do not sing. They shriek. In fact I am not sure how many of them are actually birds, and how many are pterodactyls that learned to disguise themselves with feathers.

  17. 17
    p.a. says:

    Also Cornell U has a good bird info/birdcall website.
    If you feed birds you’ll get the chance for photos like these. Hope the links work: sometimes twitchy.

  18. 18
    Rob says:

    We’re listening to the quiet, lovely song of the Gray-cheeked Thrush coming from the back yard through the screen door.

  19. 19

    One of our great pleasures is feeding the birds from the small deck on third story back of our house, outside the master bedroom. About 8′ x 6′, we hang a suet cage, and strew seed along the rails and floorboard. The birds love it, and we get a large variety, including birds one does not normally see at feeders, e.g. red winged blackbird, male and female. The coolest, though, are the pileated woodpeckers. HUGE birds, they will land on the railing, intimidate any other birds, then hang like a big chicken off the suet cage while feeding with their huge heads and beaks.

    The only problem is that when we redid the deck surfaces two years ago, we added 28′ four by four support pillars for the upper deck, it had been free hanging before, and was not really safe. Well, the raccoons learned they could come up on the second level deck outside the kitchen, climb on the rail, jump to the pillar and climb up to the third deck. So we have to remember to bring in the suet cake before bedtime if there is any suet left. Otherwise, we wake up to the raccoons dancing on the deck in the wee hours.

  20. 20
    arrieve says:

    @dnfree: One of the things I love most about birds is that you can still see their dinosaur ancestry underneath those pretty feathers. They are so beautiful and so strange. Plus they sing.

    I was just in Hilton Head, and visited the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Hot, humid, and no shelter from the sun but lots of adorable baby birds. Here’s one photo.

  21. 21
    evodevo says:

    Watch out for that wisteria… Keep it pruned or it will cover the fence, go over it and take over the yards on either side…they’re the ISIS of flowering vines lol ,,, we had one escape on the back of the farm and it is a little shop of horrors back there….

  22. 22
    Princess says:

    I loved this post. I am also getting a lot of pleasure from my garden and from the birds this year. It’s keeping me grounded during all the craziness and bad faith outside my door.

  23. 23
    donnah says:

    I’ve been a bird lover since I was a kid. I still have the dog-eared paperback illustrated bird guide I got when I was a kid. But the internet makes it way more fun for identifying and learning about birds. One spring we had a small flock of cedar waxwings spend a day on the mulberry bush in our yard; it was like a wonderful party.

    I especially like the Cornell University Ornithology website. It has tons of info, from photos to identification guides to migration patterns to recorded bird calls. We had a new influx of chipper little wrens in our area, and I was able to identify them as Carolina wrens. It’s great fun.

  24. 24
    laura says:

    I like this babblelog. Life’s simple pleasures and fleeting moments or simple tasks allow the mind to rest and wrestle over other stuff.
    Our little hummingbird Peewee was on patrol over the yard or sitting on the wire above the orange tree yesterday with a very dramatic sky backdrop of every shade of gray shifting clouds. So tiny, so tough as nails is Peewee.

  25. 25
    SFAW says:

    Bird songs? Any Birdsongs of the Mesozoic?

  26. 26
    BIll K says:

    A few days ago I got attacked by an oriole. I was walking downtown and barely noticing all the birds. I did faintly note that one was being especially noisy but I ignored it. There is always some bird being especially screechy. Then something smacked me in the back of the head. I turned around and saw this bird returning to his perch on a lamppost. I’m not a bird expert but orioles are pretty easy to recognize. He resumed his loud screeching and seemed pretty pleased with himself. He did not, however, accept my invitation to have another go at my head.

  27. 27
    SFAW says:

    @BIll K:

    He did not, however, accept my invitation to have another go at my head.

    You just couldn’t understand that he was screeching “Come at me, bro”

  28. 28
    xjmuellerlurks says:

    Cole, You might like this from the Smithsonian Institution:

    It’s a birdsong identifier for migratory birds The first link in the article is the actual birdsong identifier app. SI has a lot of really good content online for birds, including birds in art. And it’s not only birds, it’s all the things SI works on. We tend to think of the Smithsonian as museums, but it’s really a research and educational ( institution that displays objects and artifacts. It really is a national treasure.

  29. 29
    SFAW says:


    Thanks for the link, really interesting site.

    I have to confess, I see your nym/nom, and I think of Xeno Mueller, and wonder what an Olympic champion sculler would be doing on this site.

  30. 30
    Aleta says:

    @xjmuellerlurks: thanks very much for this. The song id really works for me!

  31. 31
    Blue Galangal says:

    I changed jobs last year and am finally beginning to understand the concept of work life balance (went from emergency deadlines multiple times a day & 60 hr work weeks to ,,, monthly deadlines and a normal 40 hr workweek). I’ve been working on my yard, and we installed bird feeders in the back. We started with a little cheap one from Aldi’s that has now morphed into 4 different kinds along with a squirrel feeder because apparently you have to bribe squirrels to stay away. (Spraying the bird-feeder pole with PAM is also super amusing: stripper squirrels!) We have cardinals, house finches, lots of sparrows and chickadees, grackles, doves, and the occasional blue jay. Nothing extraordinary but we are enjoying it so much.

    A house sparrow nests in our range vent and the other day we saw birds on the ground fluffing their wings at other birds. We weren’t sure what was going on until we realised the range hood was silent, and the birds being fluffed at were feeding the birds fluffing their wings! It’s the first time we’ve seen the fledglings!

    We’ve also got window boxes going, a small herb garden, and we’re about to put some watermelon and cucumbers on the back fence just to see if we get anything. It’s so nice.

Comments are closed.