Friday, July 10, 2015

the gift that keeps on giving

i've mentioned recently about my own personal PBH project of learning birds and bird songs.  what has brought me the most joy (i.e., the most birds) day after day are my feeders, carefully and thoughtfully selected from the bird feeder.

the squirrel buster has been quite effective at encouraging the birds, and the hot pepper sunflower seeds have discouraged the squirrels enough that they aren't climbing the window screens anymore, thank goodness.

this handy feeder has attracted the following so far:
  • cardinals (males & females)
  • black-capped chickadees
  • chipping sparrows
  • goldfinches (or perhaps yellow warblers)
  • tufted titmice
  • eastern bluebirds
the other feeder i have is for suet and features a tail prop. the never melt hot pepper seed suet cakes i put inside are quite popular for these birds:
  • catbirds
  • blue jays
  • black-capped chickadees
  • downy (probably, possibly also some hairy) woodpeckers (male & female)
  • red-bellied woodpeckers
  • eastern bluebirds
  • (probably house) sparrows
  • just yesterday, i think i spotted house wrens on the deck below the feeder, picking at little dropped bits
the local robins seem to care for neither seed nor suet, but a pair has built a nest underneath our neighbor's porch and we can see them coming back and forth and sitting on what hopefully contains some eggs.

the crows and grackles don't bother our feeder birds much, preferring to scare the daylights out of me by massing in the parking area and calling loudly to each other.

i was out yesterday in the incredible heat index, grilling our dinner and noticing how so very many of these birds inhabit the golden rain tree and the other tall trees near our home, preening and waiting for an opportunity to swoop over my head and seek seeds in the suet feeder. the chickadees and catbirds are the bravest. this morning i witnessed an in-air battle between a blue jay and a robin near the suet feeder. mild-mannered birds sure do extend their tiny talons and fight fiercely. though distressing for me to witness, it was a good reminder to me that these are, in fact, wild creatures and their space and habits require respect from me.

these feeders and food i carefully selected to celebrate mother's day have been some of my best choices ever. i sit and watch for the birds every time i am near the dining room table or our computer desk, both main hubs of activity for my family, and i narrate what i see aloud, even if it's only me around to hear. rather than growing tired of my excited squeaks when i announce a new arrival, my husband and children have started to identify the birds, too, and let me know when they see one so that i can see it, too. while she was here, leigh grew adept at noting the varieties and genders of woodpeckers and fell in love with the curious catbirds and their catcalls and their habit of fanning their tail feathers. laura is unfailing in her enthusiasm and encouragement for me when i describe a newcomer. her birding knowledge keeps me buoyed as i struggle to notice details and differences in order to decipher the clues.

i'm almost inspired to start washing windows so that i might take clearer photos. almost.


red-bellied woodpecker

robin's nest

american goldfinch, i think, though possibly a yellow warbler. these come infrequently and don't stay long enough for me to see details on the head and back. the beak is just too small for me to see. regardless, it's probably a female.

chipping sparrows

cardinal, male

eastern bluebird, photo by diana

downy woodpeckers, male & female, photo taken by leigh

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE your passion and that it is rubbing off on the family! Wonderful!