Usual birds

I’ve seen a great egret in our marsh occasionally and once, just a few weeks ago, I saw three. I see coots at lakes and ponds in the area where I live during spring and fall migration and I see one or two, sometimes more sandhill cranes, usually flying, now and then. But a white or glossy ibis, a snowy egret, a little blue heron, a moorhen, I’ve not seen those in the area where I live, not within many miles of the area where I live.

Then as I sat considering Mike’s list of usual birds and looking at the birds at my feeder, thinking of other birds of my area which are common, usual, I began to think about birds that were usual to me but not to Mike. Black-capped chickadees aren’t found that far south, not south of central Indiana in fact. South of the black-capped is the range of the Carolina chickadee.

White-breasted nuthatch? It too has a southern counterpart, the brown-headed nuthatch. And the white-breasted does not nest as far south as Florida according to the range maps in my bird books.

Leafing through my books I found that the summer ranges of the house finch, rose-breasted grosbeak, scarlet tanager, Baltimore oriole, yellow-breasted chat, yellow warbler, bank and cliff swallows, warbling vireo, willow and alder flycatchers also did not extend as far south as Florida though some of those birds flew beyond Florida and spend their winters even farther south.

That gave me a longer list of “usual” birds than Mike’s. But Mike had also listed other birds that he had seen that he called nice, birds that he didn’t see commonly at Viera or any place else near his home. Mike’s nice birds were crested caracara, black-bellied whistling duck, limpkin and roseate spoonbill. Nor was even that all the birds he named. He had one more, a bird he called rare, at least in Florida, a common ground dove.

I’ve seen all the birds on Mike’s list and he has been to Indiana, has seen all the birds on my list. But our lists of the usual birds near our homes are different. They include birds neither of us has seen nor will we see them near our respective homes.

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