The Birds Upon the Birdfeeder

160302_Cardinal

[ Male cardinal in the maple tree ]

March 2 – When I get up in the morning, I always open the blinds in the kitchen and check to see if there are any birds at the feeder. I can pretty well be sure that there aren’t, for the cardinals, which lead the pack, are glued to the cherry tree about 30 feet from that feeder, just waiting and hoping that they have not been forgotten. If they only knew of the enjoyment we get from watching them fly en masse after Dale has been out with the millet and the sunflower seeds! We may forget to buy something on the food-for-the-Fairchilds list, but not once has Dale ever had to apologize to the birds because he forgot their food. They should know better by now!

Back to the feeder the way it looks before Dale gets out of bed. Nothing good left from the evening before, when the birds, as usual, were still picking up their food for awhile after dusk. Now and again a few doves will be there pecking away at something edible, or the two resident squirrels will be chasing around wondering where the bird restaurant owners are. Because of our possum that usually comes after dark, the food area is pretty well cleaned up with nothing edible remaining.

160302_PossumFoot(By the way, “our” possum sometimes does come during the day, and off go the birds until he has decided to leave. Last night he was in his special box in the garage, and today spent the hours lolling around in his soft bed in the big hole in the tree down by the creek. You may wonder how we know where that possum passes his time. If you lived around here, you would know for sure! Since we have petted him and even sung to him a bit, he seems perfectly happy to just sit or lie around till he gets hungry and moves off to the bird feeder area.)

Before breakfast Dale goes out to the garage to find the necessary seed in various big cans. In the beginning years ago, he left the bags of seed lying out on the bench, but soon found out that mice wanted to be fed, too. As I remember, he caught a couple mice along the way as they were filling their cheeks and stomachs full of seed. He decided quickly that he had better keep the seed safe from predators.

160302_Blue Jays

[ Blue jays come in flocks? ]

Once in a great while a robin might decide to drop by to see what’s being served for breakfast, but that is unusual, especially now when the birds are moving up from the south. They have been coming in flocks of about 25, staying in the garden area where they try to pull up worms to eat; for them it’s a delightful meal. I think the robins could be recognized by their quick hopping, even if the sun weren’t shining on them.

Even before he has come back into the garage, birds of all kinds flock to the area, pecking and pecking, then carrying their food up to the two maple trees in the back yard. Back and forth, two or three at a time, the birds continue to stay with the food until they are filled up for awhile. What a really beautiful sight! Kingly blue jays, brilliant red cardinals with mates much less colorful, juncos, all dressed up in a tux for a meal, several kinds of woodpeckers, the small downy, and the larger red-bellied one that always pecks feverishly on one of the wooden legs of the feeder, while the smaller downies wait politely (or out of necessity), until the big guys have departed for a bit.

160302_Mockingbird

[ Mockingbird on the wire ]

Out on the front lawn nearby are the colorful flickers that usually find their meal early in the morning as they peck and peck the ground, looking for their food. There are several kinds of sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, starlings, and grackles with their shiny metallic color green heads, and sometimes a huge crow or two. Mockingbirds are busy checking out the mock orange bushes on the front lawn, trying to decide if they will be the ones that are lucky enough to make a nest way down inside one of the bushes. Later on, when the male sits up on the telephone wires, or even on the top of the pole, we will enjoy his concert as he mimics the songs of many birds. More than once we have been fooled into thinking that a bluebird or cardinal or blue jay was singing nearby.

The blue bird, with its delicate blue feathers, is another bird that stays all winter, but we have seen hardly any. In fact, I can’t remember seeing any this winter, but Dale has. We are thankful that they often make nests in some of the bird boxes out in the trees along our pasture trails. Dale set up a small bird house just outside our bedroom window to attract the house wrens. But they don’t come. Sparrows are interested in making their home in the same place, but they are too big to go in through the door. (more bird tweets tomorrow…) – CHRIS

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