Welcome to Benicia, CA where the streets are lined with trees and quaint buildings (many from over 100 years ago!).
Where they don't tear down those old buildings, they convert them into stores, & businesses,
or move them into a dry dock until they can be placed or even recycled!
Welcome to a town where there are plenty of beautiful views in every direction.
This paradise is on "the other side of the bridge", so some folks in my area think it's too far of a drive to make, but (shhhhhh, don't tell) it's only 15 minutes from my front door. I worked in this town for seven years, and always enjoyed seeing the sun on the water in the early light as I made my way over the bridge.
At the end of First Street, the birds gather expectantly near the pier every morning and wait...
for a black van that pulls up at about 8:00 AM, driven by the Bird Lady Of Benicia.
She parks in the spot the birds loyally reserve for her, gets out and tosses food for 2 groups of birds.
Group One is pigeons (I love them), red-wing black birds (I love them too!) and ducks. She gives them rice from a big bag,
while Group Two is the gulls, who get a different grain, about 15 feet away from Group One.
She feeds them separately because the gulls would peck and trample Group One, she says. Not nice, but she loves them just the same.
Wings beat and flutter inches from my shoulders. They are so busy feasting during their daily ritual, they don't notice my feet next to theirs.
I love pigeons. They are misunderstood flying jewels. They are gorgeous, gentle birds. When I see the sun hitting the underside of their wings in a flock of them flying over-head, I can feel them soaring.
I love the blackbirds for their sleek & shiny black feathers and the cranky, chirping song patterns they utter. It's one of my favorite sounds on earth.
With the bridge toll of $5.00, it's worth the price of admission to occasionally head over the bridge for the show. The Bird Lady's got a really good gig if you ask me!