The white feather was what caught my eye. A small dark bird was perched on a highway sign with the piece of fluff in its beak, waiting . . .
We were all waiting. Dave and I had made the slow crawl north out of San Jose and had finally reached our exit. Sitting at a red light, I watched the bird make its move: a short flight to an opening, several feet above the street, in the large steel post that held the traffic signal. Too soon . . . another bird poked its head out of the hole .
The bird took the feather back to its perch. The light turned green–I wouldn’t see the outcome.
What kind of a bird builds a nest in a hollow pole in the middle of six or eight lanes of traffic? Chiccadee and BarnSwallow at WhatBird.com answered the question as best they could, based on my description and the urban setting–maybe a purple martin or perhaps a northern rough-coated swallow.
Soon, an observant commuter might witness a fledgling balancing on the thin steel edge, gathering the courage to take wing.