I am an amateur bird-watcher. I enjoy watching birds from a window or while I am sitting on the patio outside. I am only familiar with a few species by name. I know only a few of their calls. In Texas, I became familiar with a woodpecker trying to make a nest in a telephone pole, an occasional cardinal, and the bluejays that nested in the backyard. When we moved from Texas to California, I was intrigued to recognize jays that were different from the striking bluejays. I learned they are related but out here they are called scrub jays, and have more grey in their feathers. I am pretty sure I have seen a pair of mourning doves on the neighbors roof, and there is a family of crows. One sunny afternoon, I was startled to see a common barn owl fly across the back fence. I was not expecting to see that “in the city”, nor in broad daylight. But the most fascinating is the mockingbird. I did not know what one looked like for the longest time because they always sound like something else. There was one back in the ’90’s that had heard so many car alarms, that is what he “sang”. I was so relieved to get out of that congested neighborhood and find that the new local mockingbird actually imitated bird calls. However, I will be darned if the latest one does not imitate the bark of a terrier or chihuahua. Mother Nature never ceases to amaze or amuse. Things I think about looking out the back window.