Hello Bird Enthusiasts,
Summer has officially started in Seattle as we continue to be advised to remain vigilant with mask wearing and hand washing. A few things have changed as we are now in phase 2, meaning some things have slowly opened back up but we continue to use caution and be safe. I hope you are all continuing to do well and enjoying the longer days of sunshine we've been having.
In addition to the ongoing pandemic. We've had some powerful and devastatingly heartbreaking events recently that have forced us a much needed wake up as a society. The Black Lives Matter movement brought out protests all around the world and highlighted issues of racism, violence and death centered towards the black community. Many of us, I included realize that even though we may think that we have not contributed to being racist, we haven't been actively non racist either. I'm actively listening and learning about what it means to be black in the world. As a white woman I will never truly know what that feels like but I'm committing myself to learning and more importantly listening to the experiences of others with an open heart and mind so I can move forward with compassion and empathy implementing change towards a more anti racist society. It feels like an overwhelming task to catch up on the years and years of systematic racism and to know where to begin to take action in supporting the black community. For now I'm concentrating tapping into my available resources and slowly providing myself the education about racism and anti-racism I wish I would have had many years ago in school.
This list of books, films and podcast resources is one that I have found helpful.
A great form of solace for me is nature. Lately I've been spending a lot of time listening and looking for migratory bird species in our area. The Swainson's Thrushes, Yellow Warblers, Olive-sided and Pacific slope Flycatchers have returned as well as Barn, Violet-green Tree and Cliff Swallows. Common Yellowthroats are singing their "witchity witchity witchity" songs, much to my delight and there's been nest building and baby birds everywhere! Highlights for me this spring were backyard visits of a couple of Black-headed Grosbeaks that stayed several days in a row singing and refueling at my feeder. This is a species I've only seen once in the backyard, several years ago. A Coopers Hawk caused quite a commotion one day with my local songbirds in the backyard. The fearless Black-capped Chickadees actually chased after it when it left the yard scolding it along the way.
I've had some quality time with Owls lately. I've had nice long looks at several Barred Owls in an urban park, biking distance from my house. Watching the mother Owl feed her 3 babies one morning while the father sat nearby was a first for me. Recently, I was also able to watch a pair of Barn Owls who had taken up residence in a Owl box at another one of Seattle's bird abundant urban parks. The Owls and box were right above a group of cyclists gathered under a tree who were there for a Black Lives Matter event. Proof that nature and humans can and do coexist together in the city.
I hope you all have been marveling at the birds and nature in your area. I look forward to resuming urban bird walks and birding with you in person as soon as were able. When bird walks resume I will be posting the information here, on my Instagram page she_birds and on my Facebook Page as well as Seattle Audubon's website. So please check back frequently. Until then I hope you remain healthy and in good spirits.
Happy Birding, Roniq Bartanen
Union Bay Natural Area, Birding by Kayak. Perfect for Social Distancing. Photo by Joe Staiano
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