We’ve lost our view but gained avian entertainment

Two weeks ago, we all said goodbye to The Herald’s home since 1959. I’d worked in that building since I was hired, nearly 10 years ago.

The building was nothing special in and of itself, but it had a glorious view. When I was interviewing for my job there, the executive editor at the time, Stan Strick, talked to me in his office. He sat me down so I was staring at Whidbey Island and the Olympics. It was a beautiful day and the water was sparkly and brilliant. I think maybe he did it as a test to see whether his candidates could focus in the face of distraction.

Now we are — mostly — settled into our new home just five minutes away. We don’t have a view anymore. We’ve gained something else, though: many little avian visitors.

Every day, a song sparrow comes by. He’s very punctual. About 11 each morning, he perches in the salal and rhododendrons outside executive editor Neal Pattison’s office. We can hear him singing his distinctive song even through the glass windows.

Neal is also often visited by a spotted towhee. About midday, the light must be right to make the window reflective. The male towhee will land and attempt to scare off his reflection, which is clearly trying to move in on his territory.

My favorites lately are the bushtits. Bushtits (Yeah, I know, who names these birds?) are tiny and adorable. They make sweet little chirps and they kind of look like a cotton ball on a Popsicle stick, they’re so round. You never see just one; they always move in flocks.

Lately, they’ve been hanging out in the flowering trees that line a walkway near our building. They land in the branches in a tittering flock and rapidly make their way through the blossoms. They must be finding tiny insects in the blooms, because one after another they poke at the flowers. When they move through the trees, petals rain down.

I’ll accept them as a trade for the water view. But come summer, I’ll have to make more treks to the Everett waterfront for my necessary dose of glorious sunsets.

(The short video above shows the bushtits flitting through the trees. Turn up the volume to hear their adorable twitters.)

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