Inspired by my aunt Liz and my friends Brenda & Mark, I recently committed to becoming a serious bird feeder. So, a small investment later, here is the result. If you look closely you can see the big Blue Jay that just scared away all the other birds at the feeder. You can also see the lovely little red bird feeder given to us by Brenda & Mark. It seems to be the most popular feeder since it is half full every time I turn around. For those of you who don't feed the birds, I highly recommend it. I have spent many hours on the weekend just watching the comings and goings . It seems to be on par with petting the dogs as far as bringing down the blood pressure a bit. Anyway, here are some observations about the life of birds and their friends, the squirrels:
1. Blue Jays will kill you for a peanut. It is best just to run.
2. Black Capped Chickadees are a squirrel's best friend. Since the squirrels are unable to reach the feeders, they hang out at the base waiting for scraps. When Mr. Chickadee comes to the feeder, he throws out whatever he doesn't like that is in the way of what he does want. This would be the human equivalent of going to a buffet and throwing the ribs on floor on your way to the General Tso chicken. Anyway, the squirrels get all excited when food drops from heaven above.
3. Fat is law in squirrel country. The fatter you are the scarier you are to other squirrels. The fattest squirrel wins all duels. Some days, I wish we could generalize this to human affairs. I hold great power in such a fantasy.
4. Speaking of fat squirrels, does anyone know what the maximum weight ever recorded for a squirrel is? I think we've got some two pounders out there. They've got big guts and fat asses. Am I related?
5. Dark Eyed Juncos are the squirrels of the bird world. They can certainly fly to the feeders but prefer to hop around on the ground with the squirrels. They don't get as much food as the other birds and they seem to make room when they see a large furry ass headed their way. This makes me feel sorry for them and go scatter seed on the ground. I'm a sucker. I'm sure this is all well thought out on their part and I'm just an easy target.
6. Nuthatches are cool. Not only are they pretty, they seem to spend most of their time upside down. I guess this behavior allows them to see bugs and other things most upright birds miss. Ingenious.
7. We can have up to a dozen Cardinals at any given time in our yard. They jump around between drinking at the pond and eating from the feeders. We have several pines and arborvitae nearby which is ideal cardinal habitat. I understand that some people really need to work at attracting cardinals to their feeders. This includes the owner of the wild bird store where I buy my food. It drives her crazy when I tell her about our cardinals. So, I do it every time I visit.