Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Eating like a bird?! Ha!

We've had bird feeders in our yard for several years now. We started with just one, and this year are up to three (not counting the occasional peanut butter-pine cone type feeder the kiddo makes and brings home from school), as well as a hummingbird feeder.

Let me tell you, that expression "S/he eats like a bird" is not exactly accurate, at least not around our house. We have been going through more birdseed than I could ever have imagined, and I don't even keep the feeders constantly full. Seriously, I just finished off a 25 lb bag of seed that Hubby bought last month. That's a lot of seed. We don't have squirrels or other non-bird type feeder raiders, by the way - in the 8.5 years we've lived here, I've never seen a single squirrel or chipmunk anywhere in the neighborhood. I think the lack of utility poles and the small number of trees has something to do with that...

We have a lot of different birds that frequent the backyard feeders, everything from itty-bitty sparrows up to big, fat mourning doves. (The mourning doves are extremely lazy - they will sit on the ground under the feeders and wait for a more enterprising bird to tip some seed out from above, then eat off the ground.) I've seen cardinals and goldfinches and we have blackbirds by the piefull. We also have loads of robins, and since I put up the third feeder on the front porch for the petunia basket family, we are positively lousy with finches, too.

As I was out refilling the feeders just now, I could hear bird calls picking up and getting more excited and loud. (Yes, I may be anthropomorphizing here, but I swear I'm not exaggerating.) It sounded for all the world like some birdfeeder scout was alerting the copse behind our property "She's finally refilled the feeders - chow time, y'all!" Sure enough, within five minutes of my returning indoors, the back yard is full of birds, in our two pear trees and all over the ground. Makes me extra-glad we covered the berry patch!

The hummingbird feeder is especially exciting to me. I never get tired of watching the hummingbirds come in for a drink of nectar (I make my own) and then dart away again over our fence. Some of them are smaller than large dragonflies and others are quite big. According to the hummingbird websites I've checked, we don't have many varieties in our neck of the woods, but I've seen a few that don't look like regulars for area every now and again. If we lived somewhere further south, where they get the more exotic varieties of hummingbirds, I might never leave my back yard or my window! I've been trying in vain to photograph the hummingbirds at the feeder for years now. If I had a fancier camera, like the one my dad has with the multiple shutter speeds and especially the crazy zoom lens (I'm pretty sure he could get a picture of our hummingbird feeder from an upstairs window from the farm in NJ), I would likely be more successful. Well, it's something to keep me busy, stalking the feeder with my base model camera at the ready.

Speaking of photographing birds, I finally managed to get a relatively clear shot of Mama Finch on her nest through the front window yesterday. The basket was swaying in the wind (we had some severe storms blow through and the wind was no gentle summer breeze!) so it isn't the sharpest photo, but I think you can see Mama clearly enough...

With said storms, I did take the baskets off the hooks for a bit so they wouldn't blow away during the worst of the wind. To my surprise, I realized I was wrong when I said there were only four babies in the nest - number five is there, albeit a lot smaller than his/her siblings! Woo! All five finches made it!

By the way, are these bird-related posts really boring? Am I driving readers away from my blog with the incessant bird chatter? Hmmm. I just find the whole thing kinda fascinating, as evidenced by my continued posting. Hopefully someone out there is as interested as I am in the topic...


My name is Andy. said...

You're not driving me away! I anxiously await the next intalment of "As the nest turns"

szarek4 said...

I love reading ALL of your posts :-)

I had my bird book out when you were trying to identify the finch. I was debating between the house finch and the purple finch when someone else was able to properly identify mother bird.


Nora said...

I love these! I'll have to share with you my pictures from two summers ago when I had a hummingbird nest in the tree outside my kidthen window.
Now call me crazy- go ahead, my kids did- but I had a ladder pretty much permanantly under that tree and watched, and photographed those birds until the day they left the nest. They knew my voice- yes they do get acclimated to the sound of your voice so talk to them when they are at the feeders- and would fly up to me when I was in the yard. I'm certain to say hi and show me how big they were getting!