Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our Fine Feathered Friends

Recently, for Ward's birthday, we put up a bird feeder, suet feeder, and bird bath. He wanted to become a bird watcher---at least from our windows. We put out expensive seed and suet and waited for the birds to come. Slowly, but surely, they have been finding their way to our gourmet offering.

However, did I mention the whole family is severely lacking in our understanding of birds? Until the new feeder, I was the advanced one because I could identify both a cardinal and a robin. Ward could spot a blue jay, and Wally and Theodore knew a crow when they saw one. That was about the sum total of it. One time, my sister, a long time birder, took me bird watching. While she was saying, "Look at the white on the tip of the bird's wing," I was saying, “Which tree?”

After a couple of weeks of watching, we're very proud of our new knowledge. We can now tell you that house finches are our most frequent visitors, the male cardinal doesn't like sharing, and the feeder REALLY swings when a crow lands on it. We can also tell you that we have both pileated and downy woodpeckers who are enjoying the suet; but neither one seems to resemble Woody Woodpecker. We're still a little confused about all of the little brown and gray birds, but we think we have been visited by a black capped chickadee, a white breasted nuthatch, and a house sparrow.

We've also had the ubiquitous visitor to every bird feeder—the squirrel. So far, the “squirrel proof” feeder is doing it's job, but we are enjoying the squirrel's antics as it tries to eat from the suet feeder in all positions. So far, upside down seems to be the favorite. Perhaps it's trying to copy the woodpeckers.

Who knows what we will see next? Maybe it will be something exotic. I just hope that we will be able to recognize it when it comes.

A Footnote: Special thanks to the boys' Aunt Martha—the bird expert who has been a tremendous help in getting us started.