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In Flight - Have a favorite wild bird? Tell me what it is

Through the years I've been asked many times to name my favorite wild bird. That's such an easy question to answer. www.cronbergphotography.com and click on the "contact Richard" link and post your entry.

I became interested in birds when I was quite young by admiring ducks and since the wood duck is probably the most colorful, I'd have to say that the wood duck is my favorite bird. But after thinking this through, I really love the "elegant" posture and soft colors of the pintail.

But wait. As I keep thinking about this more, I'm wondering if maybe the most beautiful bird is not a duck at all.

The western tanager has to be in the running for that title. Its red, yellow and black plumage is outstanding.

And then there's the red-winged blackbird with its glossy black feathers and crimson and yellow shoulders. Wow, what a bird!

Then, as I mull this over, I think that a bird doesn't necessarily have to be colorful to be my favorite. What about a bird's song?

I truly love the American robin's melody at dusk in the spring. It brings back wonderful memories of fishing on the McKenzie River years ago. But, speaking of songs, I almost forgot how much I enjoy the wonderful song of the black-headed grosbeak. He may just be the best singer of all.

On the other hand, why does my favorite bird have to be colorful or a good singer? What about our country's national bird, the bald eagle?

This bird is so majestic and regal that it surely is my favorite. It always gives me a thrill just to see one of these powerful birds.

As I read about eagles in the raptor section of my field guide I happen to notice the peregrine falcon. How could I forget this dashing "jet-setter"? The fastest bird of prey is possibly the coolest bird I know.

So, now I'm really stumped, and while I'm thinking this dilemma over and staring out the window, an Anna's hummingbird zips by.

How could anyone not love hummingbirds? Their bright, reflective colors, their speed and their attitude make them favorites of nearly everyone.

I guess I'm really uncertain about the question I thought was so easy to answer. So, I'm going to rely on you, the readers, to help me. Several years ago I posed the question to my readers to name their favorite wild bird.

We had lots of favorites from scrub jays to mourning doves. Other favorites were tree swallows, house finches, dark-eyed juncos, black-capped chickadees and western bluebirds.

Just for fun, let's do it again. Log on to my Web site at

Or, you can write to me at P.O. Box 4283, Medford, OR 97501 and tell me your favorite wild bird. Let's see what our favorite bird is today. I'll look forward to your response and I'll post the results in a column soon.

* * *Birders' tip Some people think that the colorful American goldfinch, commonly called "wild canary," has departed for the winter. They haven't gone anywhere. The males are bright yellow in the spring and summer but turn to a gray-green color in the fall and winter. Watch them closely if you have them coming to your feeder and you will see them begin to change from gray to yellow soon.

Richard Cronberg is a birding enthusiast and photographer who lives in Central Point. Write him at P.O. Box 4283, Medford, OR 97501 or www.cronbergphotography.com.