Bird Stories and Lore

Here are some of Diane Porter's articles about birds and birding. Many have previously appeared in magazines, as noted.

Eastern Bluebirds

Birds at Home

How I longed to persuade the birds with heaven on their backs to stay and nest in our back yard! Here is how mealworms helped it happen. The result was we got to watch numerous generations of bluebirds up close over a period of 15 years.    

White-breasted Nuthatch

Feathered Fire

Feathered in stone-cold black, grey, and white, the White-breasted Nuthatch is a ball of metabolic fire. Its furious metabolism allows it to survive outdoors through the freezing night of a northern winter.

Great Crested Flycatchers

Soft-hearted Tree

Great crested flycatchers nest in hollow trees. This story praises the life of a worthless tree long past its prime. A tree that woodpeckers have remodeled for themselves and birds who live after them.

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Eye of the Sharpie

I'd glanced away when something thumped against the glass. By the time I looked back again, birds were exploding out of the yard like shrapnel. On a low branch over the bath, orange eyed, alert as an angel, crouched the cause—an adult sharp-shinned hawk.

Indigo Buntings

Stars of Navigation

Indigo buntings migrate guided by the stars. Here is how baby Indigo Buntings learn which direction north is. And how this knowlege lets them use the stars to guide them when summer is over and they must make their first migration.

American Woodcock


At the first hint of dawn in March, I’m standing outside, listening for woodcocks. When I see one, he is an odd-looking bird. A miniature football, short tailed, big-footed, and with a bill so long I wonder how he holds it up. Peent, he says buzzily.