i was happy to hear the distinct scratching and chirping (and some really excellent, initially surprising whistling) coming from the corner of the attic over my den recently, so it was time to observe what's become a yearly ritual: standing fairly still at my kitchen sink, looking out the window, camera in hand, waiting for a shot of my yearly guests.
a little research indicates this "wolf-whistle" call is not that uncommon, though it's certainly new to me and possibly new to these particular birds. i also discovered that the longest known lifespan of a member of this species is about 15 years, and that it's altogether common for them to return to the same nest year after year. according to wikipedia, these birds can be either monogamous or polygamous, so it's at least possible that only one of the birds (i would guess the male) is returning year after year. i've always assumed they must be migratory, since i don't see them all winter, and it turns out they are, when born in sufficiently northern latitudes.
i was starting to wonder if they'd make it back this year, and i'm somewhat surprised by how happy i am to see them. welcome home, old friends.
up from the front yard, looking for something to eat
coming down to the edge of the garage roof to have a look at me through the window- and wait for me to leave before entering the nest.
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