More Bird Stories


[ Still Life – Junco with Daffodils ]

April 6 – These days the big cement slab on which Dale scatters sunflower seeds and millet for the birds is just about covered with hungry birds. When he goes out twice each day to put out a good meal for them, they are down on the ground or in the bird feeder box before he even gets back into the garage.

It’s easy to see the birds in the trees sitting around the feeder. The brilliant red cardinals lead the way to the food, with most of the female birds making a good spot for themselves, even if they have to push another bird out of the way to do it.

For the last week or two, grackles, cowbirds with their brown heads, and a few red-winged blackbirds have been taking over not only the cement slab, but much of the lawn in the back yard, right on over to the pasture fence! I can never figure out how they get any food, let alone enough to keep them happy and well-fed when they stay in flocks that size, just hundreds of them. Sometimes when other birds stay away because there are so many of these dark birds, I go out to the open garage door and start shouting and making strange loud cries and calls while clapping my hands. But I have found out that nothing I can do will keep those birds from cleaning up the food! When I first yell, the whole big flock takes off for nearby trees, but as soon as I’ve stepped into the garage, the whole flock is back on the ground gorging on the seeds.

160406_SparrowWe still enjoy the six or eight blue jays, a few juncos left from the fifty or so that were with us for a long time, goldfinches and sparrows, and the occasional nuthatch. While we were cleaning out the rose bushes and brush under the big juniper tree this week, I noticed a lovely white egg that had obviously fallen from somewhere in the tree above me. Dale says it was that of a dove, probably the one we saw fly out of the tree a couple days ago.

Speaking of that area on our property, as I worked at cutting recently, I clipped something that I thought looked a bit strange. Instead of just leaving it to be raked with the other stuff, I picked it up and found the first asparagus this year. Our tame patch has nothing at all to let us know that there will be tasty spears later on, but the one I saw today lets me know where there will be some tasty wild stalks.


[ The honorable birdhouse ]

When Dale wrote one of his recent blog, he mentioned the bird house given to us by our nephew Richard and his wife Terri in California. This unusually crafted rustic house with two openings now takes a place of honor in a tree just outside our south window. And oddly enough, we received an e-mail from them just about the next day. We are looking forward to a visit from Richard and his sister Linda towards the end of April! Their dad was my brother Rich who died in December of last year. How much we all miss him…

On our way to church last week, we saw a lone vulture picking the prey (an opossum) apart, picking out some tasty tidbits—well, tasty to the big black bird anyway. We were just a few feet from it before the bird decided to fly away. On our way back home, three vultures were dining in the same place . When two flew off more readily than the third, I wondered if the one who stayed by might be the same one we had seen earlier. Those birds are really ugly; must be their diet of carrion. Much as I don’t like them because of their looks and diet, I guess they are good for something as they keep dead creatures from lying around forever! – CHRIS

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