My wife and I spotted these 33 species of bird on our ranch during October 2008 through casual observation:

Great Blue Heron * Great Egret * Mallard * Turkey Vulture * Red-tailed Hawk * California Quail * Wilson’s Snipe * Mourning Dove * Anna’s Hummingbird * Northern Flicker * Acorn Woodpecker * Downy Woodpecker * Nuttall’s Woodpecker

Black Phoebe * Loggerhead Shrike * Western Scrub Jay * Common Raven * Oak Titmouse * Chestnut-backed Chickadee * White-breasted Nuthatch * Western Bluebird * California Thrasher * European Starling * California Towhee * Spotted Towhee * Lark Sparrow * Savannah Sparrow * Dark-eyed Junco * White-crowned Sparrow * Golden-crowned Sparrow * Red-winged Blackbird * House Finch * Lesser Goldfinch

A pigeon who’d been lethargic died despite our best efforts. We put in a stock tank specifically for wildlife. We had an early frost. The horribly mis-managed City-to-the-Sea Half Marathon went badly for me. A minor back injury was badly aggravated. Katie and Elvira began a series of antibiotics for poor digestion. A horribly incompetent computer consultant has put together a partially non-functioning machine and lost all our files. We put in a 6′ x 15′ "kennel" for Sam, Beep, Sean & Buttercup. Pumpkin died suddenly from a stroke resulting from a fall.

In my world I had six close friends. Mary, Peta & Katie are still here. I lost Scootie last December, Templeton in February, and now Pumpkin. Cruel winter is bearing down like the evil motherfucker that she’s always been.

Every fucking day gets harder to endure. Every fucking morning nightmares chase me from bed long before sunup. Every fucking night I dread their return. Every fucking time I check the birds I expect the worst. Every fucking time I leave the ranch I remember why I hide here from the pestilence of humanity. Every fucking time I seek help I encounter the same fucking mix of incompetence, indifference & abuse. The absolute certainty of attack from every fucking aspect of my fucking life almost every fucking minute is unbelieveable.

My only hope is that I am the next to die.

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