Like most people, I think, one of the first things I do when I wake up is head to the bathroom and let my bladder rip. It just so happens that the “porcelain throne” sits right by the window that overlooks the back yard and my garden. In the warmer seasons, I am almost always greeted with a flurry of activity happening right outside this window and I often wind up just staring out the window to watch. It’s all about the birds.
What Do I See?
Birds. Birds. And more birds. They are flying everywhere, back and forth, chasing one another, high, low, a beautiful chaotic whirlwind of colors and feathers. Believe it or not, I only have ONE bird feeder that sits on the side of the house, just outside the window for where my desk and computer sits. While I have an assortment of “feeder birds” that hang out pretty much as long as the food supply does, the rest of the yard dances with a whole other assortment of feathered characters.
A Bunch Of Characters
And yes, the birds are characters indeed! Just like people, they have many a diverse species to our nationalities. Each one had their own culture, language and hierarchies. They come in all kinds of shapes, colors and sizes. They also have their own opinions about how their family should behave and be raised as well as who does what works in the household. I have been fascinated by the birds for years.
Way Back When
I remember as a kid, my grandfather pointing out different birds to me and my cousins when we were little. He had his trusty, worn out, old bird book that he would bring out to show us pictures of a new bird he had spotted. We were always fascinated with the bird book and often picked our way through it, sometimes spending an afternoon copying and drawing our favorites. Ok, just us girls did that.
What Does City Folk Know About Birds
You see, originally, both sides of my family were from Brooklyn, New York. While of course there are birds in Brooklyn (and trees!!! Haha), my grandparents moved upstate to the country when I was little. This opened up a whole new world for my grandfather, and to the rest of us, to learn about. I can also remember a worn out book on stars that he would often bring out in the evenings when the adults were gathered to visit and relax. Oh there was so much to learn!
My Extravagant Purchase
It wasn’t really till my youngest was little, that I renewed my interest watching birds. At the time I was a stay at home mom and also watched my neighbor’s two daughters. I had been shopping one day and came across this gorgeous gazebo shaped bird feeder with a copper top. It was a bit expensive and part of the “roof” was damaged, so I asked if I could get it at a discount. The store said yes and before they could change their mind it was bought, paid for, and in my car going home. I hoped like hell the Hubby wouldn’t be to mad with my extravagant purchase since money was a bit tight in those days. Where we lived then was surrounded by woods and I put the bird feeder up in the front yard so I could watch the birds from my porch or through the big picture window when it was colder.
Training The Next Generation
Knowing how much I enjoyed my feeder and the birds, a relative gave me a bird clock one year for Christmas. Quite a few people laughed at it, but I was thrilled!!! I LOVED IT! At each other sat another bird and when the hands struck, “that bird” let out his signature call. Before I knew it, I had the kids trained by bird calls; I still crack up when I think about it. Not sure what bird was where, but conversations went something like this: “OK munchkins, you heard the Bluejay, its nap time” or “ Mom, the owl hooted, it’s time for our lunch!”. Before long I had all three kids watching the birds and telling me who was who every day. And yeah, I loved that too.
A Little Now, More Fun Later
For this particular post I am not going to go into a lot of detail about any specific bird, cause, hell, there are so many. I would just like to simply promote the activity of watching and feeding the birds. There is no reason to feel any need to be an expert, just find a feeder you like, put some food in it and hang it up. After that, enjoy it to whatever level you please. For me, I can spend hours just watching them, and luckily since my one feeder is just outside where my computer is, I can Google anything I want to know more about. Or go find my own worn out bird book.
Adding A Bird Bath
I did however add another item to my “bird arsenal” since moving to our new house. A bird bath. This brings a whole new adventure with it. I remember when we first moved here, there were two old dying pines trees right in front of the house. The bottom limbs were cut off and it was the perfect spot for bird feeders. Back then I had multiple feeders in both trees. Lucky for me, I found an old bird bath in the hedgerow & stuck it in between the two pines. It didn’t take long to notice the activity increased in the bird bath if the birds had a place to escape to, or to watch from, very close by.
The Bluebird Family
Then one day a Mama Bluebird showed up with her offspring. First they all sat up in a pine tree. Then mama went down to the bath. So far, so good. Well the babies didn’t really get what they were supposed to do and they decided to go on the ground instead. UHOH!!! Within seconds Mama Bluebird was ambushing them, extremely agitated and loud, to get off the ground. So they went back up into the tree. She tried again, to direct them to the bird bath. The same thing happened, several times. It was comical to watch her attempts to get them in the bath; I suppose all parents have that problem at one time or another, regardless of species.
This Bluebird family had better success than the Bluebird Mama at my house:
In the future I will talk more about the different birds in more detail, and share adventures, such as my endless search to actually find an owl in a tree during the day. It’s a bucket list thing I do every late winter early Spring. I even made my own screech owl house and put it in my backyard to better my chances, without any luck so far. In the meantime, many species of birds are migrating right now which makes for sighting birds you might not normally see in your neighborhood. Having bird feeders and baths makes your chances of attracting them to your own yard that much greater. Whatever you do, just have fun and enjoy the feathered frolicking!