Birds! Birds! Birds!

I spent New Year’s at the lake house of friends. There are a lot of nice things about their place, but the bird feeders are pretty high up there. In the summer the hummingbirds whiz by your head–dive-bombing each other like pretty little fighter pilots. In the winter the bird list seems to grow. And after spending an inordinate amount of time standing at their windows, watching woodpeckers and juncos, I decided it was time to start feeding the birds at my house.

dark_eyed_junco

Dark-eyed junco

When my cats went outside I did not want a killing field in my yard, so I refrained from hanging bird feeders. I plant a lot of native plants and wildflowers, so birds and butterflies are still regular visitors to my yard. It’s been over a year since the cats stopped going outside, though, so I figured it is now safe to get a bird feeder.

I headed to the store, bought a feeder with those bars that keep squirrels out and a bag of food. I hung the feeder on a shepherd’s hook across from my office window and waited.

The sparrows found it first, and they are the most plentiful visitors. The squirrels tried their hands at breaking in but seem to have given up. Now they just hang out under the feeder to eat what the birds drop. (The dog has been enjoying chasing the squirrels away.) I won’t have to build one of these anytime soon…

tufted_titmouse

Tufted titmouse

I’ve been keeping the guide to¬†Connecticut Common Backyard Birds handy in my browser, so that when a new bird shows up I can identify it. (I may need to clean my windows so I can see a bit more clearly.) And I started a bird list. The cardinals and blue jays that I used to see anyway are not too fond of this particular feeder. (I later bought a suet feeder, but it was peanut butter flavor and the dog eventually ate it–so I have to rethink that plan.) The hawks are probably hanging out in the trees, just waiting to eat my little avian visitors. I have seen a tufted titmouse and a dark-eyed junco, lots of sparrows, and a smallish black bird that I can’t quite identify.

I suppose I may even need to buy binoculars to get a better look at some of the less flashy birds–and identify that mystery bird. And, of course, this is an addiction, so I will inevitably end up with new types of feeders and seed. In the spring, when I start to get the planting itch I will also concentrate on more bird-friendly, berry bearing plants. (One of the first signs of spring is when the birds flock to my front yard to eat last year’s berries off of my winterberry holly.) Stay-tuned to hear about my adventures in birding, and go watch The Big Year while you’re at it.

(Header Image from Flickr Creative Commons, Peter Miller.)
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