Cardinals and chickadees are two favorites. Mr. Cardinal's (started calling the male cardinal that when the kids were little) song and bright color appeal while the chickadee's call and spunky attitude perk up winter days. Red poles, golden finches, and blue birds all have the color component going for them. So do blue jays and while they can be obnoxious, they are fun to watch hop about. Another favorite is the rarely seen orange and black oriole. That bird takes my breathe away.
In the "power bird" category red tail or marsh hawks and owls awe me. The soaring, swooping flight, keen eyesight, and larger size demand respect. While not a predatory bird, the great blue heron's size, long legs, and crooked neck give it a commanding appearance, and I always "ooooh" when I see one. Kingfishers and snowy egrets cause the same reaction. The above mentioned birds are just plain wow-worthy.
Now, there are a few birds that drive me crazy. I respect a crow's intelligence although when they caw at 6:30 in the morning I am less than thrilled with them. But today the bird highest on my annoyance list is the killdeer. This bird's instinct to run the opposite direction from their nest might make sense in theory but any human familiar with the bird is not fooled by this behavior. And while the killdeer is running away from the next it is yelling in its high pitched killdeer voice.
What did I hear this afternoon out my patio door (which was, Halleluia, open because it was 68 degrees outside) but the squawking of not one, not two, but three killdeer in the backyard. Aye yay yay. Is this threesome (birdy menage a trois?) going to nest in my garden area or at the base of the neighbor's trees? Their mating season begins in March, so they are probably scouting out birthing rooms.Maybe I'll grow to love their endless hysteria. If not, I'll try to remind myself that at least its not a family of skunks who have adopted my yard.