Sitting at a friend’s kitchen window, I overheard her cooing, chattering sweetly with her backyard birds. She knew them by type, by name, even by personality- shooing away the Blue Jay bully and enticing the Downy Woodpecker to stay longer. Because the large window was so close to the feeder, I was able to capture these beautiful, common creatures, undaunted by my lingering. I found these birds- or, perhaps, they found me- in Northern Virginia, outside Washington, D.C., where I grew up. I’m always amazed at how a region’s most common specimens, found in a friend’s backyard, can be so colorful, so exotic, and so playful when I keep my eyes open.