Monroe Library Blog

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Birds, Pajaros, Aves, Uccelli, Oiseaux

I am new to Washington and one of the most amazing things about this state is the wonderful wildlife - the birds, namely. 

I come from Arizona where pigeons are considered pests, not beautiful, white symbols of peace. We also have hummingbirds, which are very interesting and probably my favorite bird. But that's because beyond pigeons and hummingbirds, I don't know any other birds. I take that back. I think the state bird of Arizona is the cactus wren although I've never seen one.

Here in Washington, you can't help but pay attention to them. They are swooping overhead, on a mission to find the perfect twig for the fluffy bird nest they're building. Those nests are the coziest looking baby beds I've ever seen. I can say that because here at my new place of work, the Monroe Library, there is a bird's nest right outside my office window. A co-worker later told me that the nest building bird is a robin, "a plain old robin," she said. But these robins have orange bellies and are large! They don't seem ordinary to me.

I was walking into the library one day when I saw what looked like a blue cardinal. I stopped and stared because it was almost the coolest thing I'd ever seen in my entire life. It was like the fairy tale "Mr. Blue Bird on my shoulder" song from childhood. Only, it wasn't a blue bird and it wasn't a cardinal either. I was later told by a co-worker that it was a Stellar's Jay. How does everyone know the names of these guys?!

Even if I didn't have birds swooping over my head, building nests outside my office window and stopping me mid-stride just by the sheer burst of color catching my eye, I wouldn't be able to ignore the birds. Everywhere people are talking about birds. One of the nearby elementary schools I visit is known all over the world by bird people for it's unusual resting spot for a bird called Vaux's Swift. These birds migrate to the area every year and swarm an old chimney and people come with blankets and chairs to witness the birds come in swarms over the school.

There's a nest up there, I promise. Think down comforter.

I was commenting one day on this Audubon phenomenon when one of my bosses said, "that's because they are a big deal here. People like birds." This was after I had called the whole group I was with "birders". It surprises me that I can talk to just about anyone if I start with a bird conversation.

She's right. Washingtonians just like birds. Just the other day, a library customer came up to me and said, "you should come look over here, there's a nest just outside the window that's just hatched some baby birds". And so I did, me and the other 12 or so Washingtonians. Kids had their eyes glued to the support beam outside, where the beautiful robins that had just been born, their beaks reaching for the sky. If I were those birds, I wouldn't ever want to leave that oh-so-fluffy nest. Those birds will fly the coop some time soon, though, just like I did. I left my home in Arizona and migrated to Washington, the land of birds. I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Do YOU Know Your New Librarians?!?!?

If you haven't been inside the Monroe Public Library in a while, you might see some new faces the next time you visit. Shannon Dye was recently hired as Monroe's new Children's Services Librarian and Charles Pratt is the new Adult/Teen Services Librarian. Both Shannon and Chuck have been on the job for a few months now and are very excited to join the staff at the Monroe Library and to become part of our community. Shannon comes to Monroe from Arizona and Chuck joins us from Kentucky. Both have several years of experience in public libraries and are thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest. Recently the Monroe Monitor did a story on Chuck and Shannon which you can read to learn a little more about them. If you haven't been to the library recently, please stop in and say 'Hi' to our new librarians and the rest of the staff. We'd love to talk about the Summer Reading Program, help you find research for a homework assignment, show you how to download eBooks or audiobooks, or just talk about a good book with you!