My wife Nancy and I usually go for a walk four or five times a week. We always keep a look out for different kind of birds as we walk. It is really interesting to see them come and go with the seasons.

It seems to us that there aren't nearly as many swallows flying over the pond as there used to be a few years ago. We notice the same thing in our yard. Some of the bird houses go unused now.

As we walk along the road, by these huge cottonwood trees, we hear this bird call that sound like it is right out of Northern Exposure. It is the call of the Red Tail Hawk. The pair have a nest high up in the cottonwood trees. Each year they add material and the next gets larger and larger. If we didn't spot it early in the spring, before the leaves are on the trees. we would't know it was there at all.

It is a perfect spot for their nest as they can see a long way over the valley and have good hunting for voles, field mice etc. Sometimes they will spend hours just circling high in the air as if they are just enjoying the free ride on the air currents. Back on the farm people called these and similar hawks, "Chicken Hawks". We always thought they would try to prey on the chickens. I doubt if they ever do. There are bantam chickens in our neighbors yard and they have not been bothered by the hawks.

The coolest bird we ever saw on our walk was just last year. It was a Lazuli Bunting. At first we thought maybe it was a Western Blue Bird but after visiting Champoeg Park and seeing all the Western bluebirds there we realized what it really was.

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