Hungry birds are always welcome. Out comes the party food and every bird in the Prairie shows up. If I knew birds better I could identify them without a doubt. We have three bird books, but I always have doubts.
This winter I moved the feeders from the shepherds’ hooks down near the pond up to the back porch. By moving them, suiting up in rubber boots and winter gear would be unnecessary. Then I could slip out real quick in fuzzy house slippers and refill the feeders.
The big blue feeder, the one that the cardinals like, has some chewed areas where the squirrels tried to get at the feed. Since the feeders have been on the porch, and since the kittens stand by the window like marmots, the squirrels don’t come near. Even when the kittens sit under the feeders the birds are unperturbed. Thankfully, the kittens don’t know what to do with birds yet. Wilhelmina often comes back with something in her mouth which gives me a slight heart pang, but it always turns out to be a wad of moss or a bit of bark off a tree.
The second feeder hangs precariously crooked. A squirrel, I’m sure, chewed through the hanging cord and the feeder plummeted to the ground, spilling all the seed. Sam repaired it best he could with some black electrical tape, but the top doesn’t fit down tight so it hangs crooked. Ignoring its odd tilt, the birds seem to like it the best, so I continue to fill it for them.
The third feeder is new and was meant to replace the crooked feeder; but since the birds seem to prefer the crooked feeder, it’s now the third feeder. It’s metal and plastic and a little harder to fill. I forgot to check that part before I bought it. I thought it’d fill just like the crooked one, but you have to take it down and unscrew a finial on top, then fill it with the seed, then reconstruct the top and the finial. It doesn’t take a lot of time, unless you’re standing outside in the cold wind in your fuzzy slippers.
The other day I saw five male cardinals waiting for their grub. They sat on bare tree limbs waiting their turn. The tree limbs also held tiny sparkling water droplets that shone like diamonds. The female cardinals come, but the males draw the eye. There is an abundance of tiny sparrow-like birds. But when I look at the bird book, even pinpointing their geographic location, I just can’t be sure what kind they are. I’ve pegged some as Carolina chickadees and some as dark-eyed juncos, but the rest I’ll call sparrows.
Unlike stingy hummingbirds that refuse to share, many mornings we have 16 hungry birds feeding, with more gleaners down below.
Note: The Mississippi University for Women Life Enrichment Program offers “Identifying Birds for your Enjoyment” starting March 24. For more information, see muw.edu/lep or call 662-329-7150
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