I have had a few charming experiences with birds since coming here, all close to our apartment. The first was seeing what Eric said was a magpie hopping along on the sidewalk one of the first days I was here. It's the first photo and it's a bit grainy; I didn't want to get too close and scare him. I don't usually notice birds who are walking on the sidewalk because that's pretty normal, but he just had so much personality and had a really long tail and interesting markings, and I don't think I had ever seen one before. Also my friend Carly is very fond of them. Then there are hirondelles, cute little black birds that chase each other around inside the walls of our courtyard at twilight, swooping and screaming at each other, apparently especially when it's going to rain soon. Eric says that they return from Africa when summer is nearing. "Hirondelle" is their French name, and I looked it up in the french/english dictionary and they are actually swallows. I don't have a photo because they're too quick. Lastly, my favorite is these last 2 photos. In the middle one here, if you look at it closely, you can see the second bird in a nest over to the right. These are two birds that made a nest together and I was able to watch them pretty closely from outside our kitchen window. I was enchanted because they worked together, then the one that I guess is the girl sits in the nest and the other one stands there like you see, keeping a lookout I guess. And sometimes he leaves, and she'll call him after awhile and he'll return after a few minutes. Sometimes they're both gone, sometimes for a long time, and I worry, but they've always returned so far. I can't tell if there are babies yet; I don't think so because she leaves pretty often too. Anyway, I was researching them online because I thought it was so cute how they stay together, and I wanted them to be something interesting, like, for awhile I had them pegged as "mourning doves," except that the geography wasn't really right for them, then Eric said, "aren't they just pigeons?" And I didn't want to think that but, well, yes, they are. But they are WOOD pigeons to be precise, I found, and they are known for being monogamous, etc, etc, and they are awfully nice when you see them doing the things that I see, so it's okay if they're just pigeons.