Friday, January 29, 2010
Wild Birds that give us joy. Squirrels that make us laugh!
We have two bird feeding stations: one in the back garden in view of the kitchen and dining room windows, and another in the front garden hanging from various branches of a tree. Both bring us great pleasure as we watch different species of birds, plus cheeky squirrels, feed off seeds, nuts and fat balls.
The squirrels have to work for their food — my husband sees to that! I love to see them work out how to get up the pole and find a way to reach the nuts by hanging upside down. Young squirrels tend to slide down the pole to start with and get their bodies into intricate positions before finally stretching themselves fully at an angle to get a nut. After they had nibbled away the bottom, they now have to nibble metal if they want to be greedy and get the full load. But they can do that sometimes. Hubby uses his brain to keep them exercised — a battle of wills and ingenuity! A year or so ago, I saw a squirrel under our oak tree playing with a stick. I could hardly believe my eyes — it was rolling with it, tossing it and skipping after it just like a puppy.
The robin is a bully and frightens off the small birds but we love to see him just the same — as we do all of the beautiful birds that give us so much joy. But I don't like the sparrowhawk (or whatever) hovering around. It catches other birds and sometimes we see the remnants on the lawn — especially pigeons.
But the white pigeons gave us incredible pleasure last year. One found a way to get at the seeds — not easy as it involved fluttering in space. But he did not appear to eat the seeds himself, he just caused them to fall to the grass below the feeder. The rest of the pigeons, ranging from pure white to dappled shades of beige, just waited for the seeds to fall. Curiously, the provider pigeon did not seem to eat any. He just strutted around until deciding to get more for the others. Now, was he a cock impressing the females?
The most beautiful pigeon was a pure white fantail. I loved to see that bird, whether he was strutting around — cute in his fluffy 'bootees' — or flying fully stretched, an angelic being caught in the sun's rays. We missed him when he did not appear day after day. Then we heard that he had been found on a lawn with his head bitten off. I felt so very sad. But life of our wild birds go on — such a blessing.