I took my lunch break in the Steak & Shake parking lot to see what I could see. Obviously, I was hoping for the painted bunting, the female in particular. I also hoped to get a look at a possible Bewick's wren that Al Sharpton alerted me to.
As soon as I got out of the car, I heard Mr. PABU. He was sitting in the top of the shrubby-looking tree behind and just to the left of the dumpster grooming himself and singing about it. I was surprised at how close he let me get, even in my bright red shirt. (I guess he, of all birds, can't discriminate for that!) I walked in increments from my car to the curb, which is maybe 30 feet (???) from the tree, and he stayed put for several minutes. Finally, he flew off toward Slumberland (I don't blame him. I'm tired too.), and I lost track of him.
I stuck around for a little bit (I only get a half an hour for lunch), listening, watching and scanning the trees, but I didn't see Mrs. PABU or any wrens. I did, however, see a male American goldfinch, a blue jay, a bunch of purple martins (There's a large house near the Wal-Mart parking lot. It was put up by Steve and Regina Garr when their store, Birds-I-View was in the adjacent lot.), several cave swallows and a male northern cardinal. Notably absent were common grackles, house sparrows and European starlings.
So, even though I didn't see my target birds, I think that 6 native species in 15 minutes of birding in a dinner parking lot is a pretty good lunch break!
Amy J. Hoffman
P.S. I also didn't see any cats.