Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Solitaire

The Townsend’s solitaire is aptly named.  They are not a flock bird by nature.  The solitaire insists on living alone.  They are rather like that cranky old widower who lived down the street from you when you were in grade school—the one who scowled at you as you rode by on your bicycle and yelled if you set foot in his yard.
Once again, a Townsend’s solitaire has taken up residency in my yard for the winter.  This particular bird alternates between my rain gutters and various trees.  For a solitaire, my house is a flawless winter resort.  These birds tend to spend summers in the high mountains eating insects and a few berries.  During winter, they settles into lower elevations and survive almost entirely on juniper berries.  That makes my house solitaire paradise.  The hills and ravines that ripple away from my house are chock-full of junipers turned blue with berries.
Once a solitaire stakes out winter land holdings, it will jealously guard the properties.  The solitaire will readily fight with other birds, including other solitaires, if they approach the prized juniper berries within their territory.  The Townsend’s solitaire sings vociferously at times, calling out: “Tew.  Tew.”   Sometimes the solitaire will call out a more complex warble.  All of this, though sounding beautiful, is a warning to other birds.  Just like the cranky old man from down the street.
Given all of this, I still insist that the solitaire living at my house is fond of me.  The bird has never “tew-tewed” me directly.  This bird, just as other Townsend’s solitaires in the past, often perches on the rain gutter above me as I soak in my hot tub outside during daylight hours.
Posted is a photograph of a photograph of a Townsend’s I lifted from Wikipedia.

--Mitchell Hegman


  1. No firm answer on that. I can say with certainty that Carmel likes me when I have chicken.