Nature Through the Window

California scrub jay

Working remotely for nearly two years, I’ve had a lot more time to look out the windows at home. I’ve watched my neighbor’s ornamental shrubs leaf out, then bloom, and now produce berries. The wild visitors vary with the season. Currently, birds are feasting on the berries. Because I’m indoors behind glass, they’re much more comfortable with my being nearby. I open the window just far enough to get a clear view from above, then step away so I’m less visible to take my photos.

White-crowned sparrow

On the other side of the house, a window overlooks another neighbor’s persimmon tree. This time of year, it’s without leaves and fruit which makes the birds easier to see. Although it’s only a short distance away from the shrubs I see from the other window, the birds that visit this tree are often different. The scrub jays, however, also perch there.

Scrub jay fluffing out its feathers on a cold morning

One morning, I heard a chirp, and looked out the window to see a bird in the persimmon tree that I’d never spotted in my neighborhood, a black phoebe. With the glass between us, this was the closest I’d ever been to this species of flycatcher. While she was off her perch chasing a bug in mid-air, I tried to sneakily open the window to get a better look before she landed again. Unfortunately, she was spooked and didn’t return for quite some time. But eventually, she settled on my neighbor’s roof as her new spot to watch for bugs before flitting off to grab a bug and returning again.

Black phoebe

Watching the wildlife and the cycles of weather and plants in my urban setting, I’m reminded of the inspiring words of Rachel Carson in The Sense of Wonder: ”Wherever you are and whatever your resources, you can still look up at the sky—its dawn and evening beauties, its moving clouds, its stars by night. You can listen to the wind, whether it blows with majestic voice through a forest or sings a many-voiced chorus around the corners of your apartment building, and in the listening, you can gain magical release for your thoughts. You can still feel the rain on your face and think of its long journey from sea to air to earth, and wonder at the mysteries of natural selection embodied in the perfume and flavor of a fruit. Even if you are a city dweller, you can find some place, perhaps a park or a golf course, where you can observe the mysterious migrations of the birds and the changing seasons.”

What cycles of nature do you notice through your windows? Feel free to share as a comment.


  1. I have been meaning to reach out! I’d love to catch up. I enjoy your posts and hope you’re doing well. Me and the kitty sit on our balcony and stare at the birds too. Although we may have different motivations! =)

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