Readers will note that the blog is mostly concerned with birds now. What started out as a small tray on an old table with two or three juncos and a few chickadees has turned into something completely different.
Over time, a titmouse and a very shy wren would make an appearance, quickly disappearing when intimidated by the juncos. The towhees built a nest in Mr. Maria’s trees, and raised their family on cornmeal suet. A very large flock of sparrows forced me to shut down the feeder till they lost interest. More juncos came by. The resident hummingbird defended his feeder fiercely. A lone Townsend’s warbler visited late in the year and stayed.
This year, the chickadee pair seems to have only one baby. Mourning doves have a nest in the honeysuckle, and while fleeing at shadows, land on the table. During dinner on Sunday, one settled down for a rest right next to the food bowl, watching us as we ate inside. It stayed there a long time. (I have witnesses.) The towhee pair not only lands on the table, but also on the smaller table right against the wall. A phoebe comes to the yard but not to the feeder, being an insectivore, and a grosbeak eats seeds that fall on the patio. Robins have a nest either in the street oaks or a neighbor’s yard, and stop by now and then. A house finch feeds on the finch sock along with at least six goldfinches. The hummingbird I named Sparky has died, I’m afraid, but has left such a force field around his feeder that few hummers even dare to stop there, and then only briefly. The wren has become so familiar and content that it too flew inside (as did the juncos and a chickadee), and exited in a timely fashion.
All this occurs in a very small space of the patio and surrounding semi-grassy area. I am constantly amazed, and if I didn’t have a stringent deadline of June 30 for a large project, I would be sitting outside filming all this, especially the goldfinches, who have a most picturesque lifestyle.
These activities have been going on for almost two years. In that time, the birds have become quite used to me, most particularly the chickadees. They know how to get my attention to get mealworms out of the box outside. I will swear that they have a meaningful look.
Lately, the squirrels are back, leaping up on the tables, knocking things down, and the black ones have figured out the traps. I have watched as they smell the nuts inside, nose all around, try to reach for them with their paws, and can actually remove them if the trap is set on the ground. They go all around, even on top, but avoid the opening. But I can’t fend them off all the time.
This morning, I was deep in work when a chickadee landed on the bush in front of the window where I work. This is nothing unusual, they do this all the time, usually to chip away at a piece of suet or a mealworm. But this chickadee was giving me the Meaningful Look. I stared back, said hello, went back to work. It persisted with this look, bobbing back and forth a bit, then kind of moved its wings out a little. That’s when I saw the black squirrel on the small table next to the wall, big chunk of suet in its paws, eating away.
So, message sent, message received. I ran the squirrel off, and everything went back to normal.