The birds are slowly coming back. Slowly. I don’t know if more are going to show up. I’m particularly worried about the disappearance of the Mourning Doves. They don’t migrate. They live here year-round, but I haven’t seen one. But they are shy and it takes them a while to find their way to the seeds.
Meanwhile, there was quite a flurry of birds today. And here are some squared up pictures. Lots of lines. The entire feeder is all wire lines. The deck is also lines made from wood planks and posts.
But these two pictures are special because one is lovely Lady Cardinal. While Sir Cardinal is showier in his brilliant scarlet feathers, she is — in her own way — a gorgeous bird. Her colors are wonderful!
And the second one is one of my all-time favorite birds, the Red-bellied Woodpecker.
I know it’s all the rage. I bought coloring books for my DIL for Christmas because I know she enjoys coloring.
I didn’t like coloring when I was a child. I preferred drawing and painting and these days, photography with doodling along page edges. I am a chronic doodler, but I don’t like anything with lines.
I hate lines. I hate definitions of where each color should go. I never liked coloring in OR out of the lines, so I don’t like it now, either. Sometimes, when I wonder what Garry and I share as a couple, I realize we hate being told what to do. We resent instructions, rules, and definitions.
Which doesn’t mean I don’t follow directions using tools or technology. I know where (so to speak) to draw that particular line. Garry doesn’t always. He will fight with me over everything.
He wants to do it his way.
I don’t mind him doing it his way unless it will (a) burn down the house or set the chimney on fire; (b) destroy dinner; (c) cause injury to something or someone (including himself).
Otherwise, I let him battle it out until eventually, he asks for help. At which point, I try to explain there are things where you can do as you please, but not everything. Some stuff, usually involving electricity or technology and associated parts, you have no choice but to do the right way or it won’t work. Not even if you burn incense or pray to the gods of technology.
It’s why he’s no kind of mechanic and for the most part, neither am I.
But, just in case it’s your thing, I’ve included five photographs using my “coloring book” filter that you can print and then color. Birds and squirrels for people who find coloring relaxing and like nature. I’m going to have to try these filters on other types of pictures. I just am afraid they will be too confusing with trees and fields.
As for me, there is reading, taking pictures, watching movies — and ultimately, sleeping!
I have not refilled the bird feeders. The birds think we are just late. Or really, yesterday they thought it must be a brief delay because the food is always there.
Today, they were back. The squirrels and a wide variety of birds, trying to find a few seeds on the deck they could eat. They were like people who have just discovered the last two decent restaurants have been closed. Some of these birds and baby squirrels have possibly never eaten anywhere else.
It’s pathetic, sad and I feel guilty. Even though I know I have no choice. I have to take them down, guilt or no because we need to fix the deck. I have bought special waterproof paint. My son is readying the powerwasher.
The birds weren’t getting much from the feeders anyway because the cohort of squirrels had taken over the feeders, the railing, and the deck and weren’t letting the birds near the feeders except during the hour or two a day when I managed to chase them away for a little while so the birds would descend and try to get some seeds.
Apparently, there is no way for a human to balance this relationship between birds and squirrels. I thought the squirrels would like the flat feeder and the birds would prefer the tall mesh feeder. The ground feeders could clean up the pound or so of seeds we always drop while filling the feeders.
Instead, the relentless pressure of squirrels against the birds never stopped. First, there was one squirrel. Then there were two. Eventually, there were squirrels everywhere. Waiting in the trees, hiding under the deck, lurking on the stairs, waiting in rows on the railings.
With each day, they became less afraid of us and I was beginning to think it was going to become of physical confrontation, something I absolutely did not want.
When they started announcing on the news that the recently-arrived bears were tearing down decks to get to bird feeders and began warning homeowners to take down the feeders now, my choice narrowed from very little to none at all. I can still throw some handsful of seeds onto the back lawn, but really they should remember to be wild.
Today, there were only a few very small (probably baby) squirrels urgently poking around hoping something edible remained. And besides the two little squirrels, there was a big red Cardinal, a few rather tiny Nuthatches (also probably babies — about half the size of full-grown Nuthatches) and a few forlorn Mourning Doves.
The delay is not permanent. In the fall, as the air chills down, we’ll put the feeders up again and hopefully by then our furred and feathered friends will have forgotten us and the feeders and will start anew. We’ll have a few months before the battle to control our feeders gets fully underway.
I guess this proves once and for all that sharing is not the way of the wild.
It seems we don’t actually have much to say about it. This is a bird and squirrel match. We watched while the flocks of Goldfinches got bullied off the feeders by the Cowbirds and woodpeckers. How the bigger woodpeckers chased away the smaller ones. And how the squirrels chased away everything that wasn’t a squirrel.
And I don’t want to hang around until a black bear drops by and chases me away, too.
They are not the very last. We’ll put the feeder back up in November when the weather begins to get cold. And I have a lot of folders of birds with a fair number of unprocessed photographs. But now, it’s time for our cohort of squirrels to go back to the forest and rediscover the joy of squirreldom.
This morning I went out on the deck and there were half a dozen of them. Two in the feeders, another couple on the railing, and a few on the deck itself. I suppose they were all awaiting their turn. I finally went out onto the deck and physically ejected them. They apparently believe it’s their personal stash of goodies and are protecting it from humans and birds.
If I didn’t think Duke would jump the fence and break all his bones on the way down, I’d put him out there to guard the stash. Sadly, he is a jumper and Gibbs mostly wants lots of time spent napping on the sofa. Chasing squirrels is not high on his agenda.
And, I should add, with considerable determination.
Now that I look at the pictures I realize I have more of them. Possibly a lot more of them. So you’ll see more. I have to process more of them too.
It seems that the more I try and discuss the eating all the food situation with the squirrels, the more squirrels show up. It used to be one at a time. Not the same squirrel each time, but it was a definite group. I could tell by the scars in their fur and the shape of their tails.
Now, we have two babies — about half the size of the bigger gray ones. I have to assume the big ones are their parents. Or maybe aunts and uncles. hard to tell.
I’m pretty sure they’ve been told to come here, that this is where the good food is. And it seems that the more I talk to them, the less afraid they are. Maybe because I’m so polite?
On the other hand, The Duke goes completely wacko when he sees two, three, four squirrels on the porch and when he gets to barking frantically, the squirrels tend to get a bit hinky and move elsewhere for a while.
But people? They just eyeball us. I swear this morning I looked on the deck and in the spot where we used to keep the stone frog (I moved it because the squirrels kept knocking it down), there was a little squirrel. Sun-bathing.
Another was literally lounging on the deck. Relaxed, just lying there. He looked up when I said: “Good morning, young squirrel. How’s it going? Enjoying the sunshine?”
He looked at me, stretched, yawned, jumped up on the railing, then grabbed the feeder and wrapped himself around it.
Meanwhile, there were a couple of Cardinals looking very lovey-dovey on the deck.
Lady Cardinal decided to go flying and right after her, flew a young red boy. Literally, right on her tail. I knew he was young because he didn’t have his full coloration. Immediately behind him flew an apparently eager, bigger, redder male.
All three birds headed into the woods at high speed. I couldn’t see them anymore, but I could hear squawking as the two males attacked each other. When those red males meet, they always fight. Very territorial — and there was a young lady involved.
Boys will be boys, even when they have bright red feathers.
I thought everyone was going to get tired of birds. Honestly, I thought I would get tired of the birds, but it turns out, I find them beautiful and love having them around.
I yell at the squirrels, but I don’t mind them having a piece of the buffet. I would just prefer they not eat all of it every single day. I have switched to cheaper feed. I really couldn’t keep up the high-class buffet with such massive eating going on!
The trouble is, our squirrels are becoming less and less afraid of me. Now I have to make loud noises or they just sit there and stare back at me and I swear they are saying, “Oh yeah? And what’re you gonna do about it?”
Truthfully, not much. Make more noise? Wave the broom at them? Or, we could train them to be better trained members of our burgeoning household.
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