Birding Without Borders

Day 148: Home Sweet Home

The big year reaches Noah’s backyard.

May 28, 2015, Eugene, Oregon — For the first time this year, I woke up in my own bed this morning - a simultaneously familiar and strange feeling! I’ll spend the next week in Oregon, birding around my home territory while catching up on sleep and logistics. Oregon has the sixth-highest bird list of any U.S. state and I expect to pick up some iconic species in the next several days, so, while I have planned a couple of free afternoons here, it’s not exactly a week off!

I had a special new bird before even getting out of bed this morning: A noisy male Rufous Hummingbird woke me up by buzzing around the feeder just outside my bedroom window. This was my 217th species of hummingbird this year (of approximately 350 hummingbirds in the world), and will be my last—I’ve now seen all the hummingbirds that occur in the U.S., and there are no hummers in the eastern hemisphere.

After breakfast, my mom and I went for a three-hour hike up a steep mountain road in the conifer forest, hoping to find a Sooty Grouse. We struck out on the grouse, but the hike was wonderful. I ran into some old friends: Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Pacific Wrens, Hermit Warblers, Evening Grosbeaks, Red-breasted Nuthatches…some of the very first birds I ever identified, when I was in elementary school. The best prize today was a trio of Gray Jays working quietly through the shadowy understory.

I spent the afternoon at the dentist, the barber, and the cell phone store. After a haircut and a shave, I feel like a new person (and perhaps look like one, too). Yes, it’s good to be home!

Before and after a 2,687-bird haircut! Photo: Noah Strycker

New birds today: 10

Year list: 2687

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