How much more bucolic can one get than spending hours staring out the window, watching nature nibble its way through our feeders? These days, every time I get up for any reason, the first thing I do is look out the window to see what’s on the feeders. Early in the morning, usually a big squirrel. Later, birds — and another squirrel. Eventually, the squirrel has something else to do and the birds get a go at it
They come in waves. We welcome flocks of Goldfinch, Cowbirds, Woodpeckers, Doves, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Carolina Wrens … and the occasional Cardinals (male and female), finches of various kinds. They all come. The bucolic birds and critters of the woods. Sometimes, they sing, too.
Garry filled the feeder yesterday and it is more than half empty today. I figure that’s probably the doves and the squirrels. Those are BIG eaters!
I saw him at the feeder on Monday. “That’s a new kid,” I announced, but of course I didn’t get a picture because I wasn’t holding the camera. Just watching the birdies flutter about.
This morning, I heard the call. The wild call of the Carolina Wren. He has the loudest call of any bird of that size, which is smaller than a Robin, but bigger than a Finch.
You can’t miss the call. You can hear it through closed windows and doors. This time, I heard it in the living room … and the sound was coming from the backyard. I went back there, missed him, but while I was standing there with my camera in my hand, staring at the empty feeder, who should land but the aforementioned and previously heard, Carolina Wren.
As I was reading up on this little wren, there was a lot of commentary on how these migratory birds have largely stopped migrating. Partly, because of climate change and alterations to their environment, but even more because of …
People with feeders have dramatically changed the migration of birds. Whereas they used to fly to the tropics, many just fly down to like … Maryland or New Jersey … and now, many are not bothering to migrate at all.
I read an exchange between someone in South Carolina bemoaning her lack of Carolina Wrens and was answered by someone in Michigan who said, “Well, we just got a foot of snow and they are happily eating at my feeder on the porch!”
We feeder owners are supposed to report seeing birds showing up where they should not be … and especially if they seem to be suffering from an ailment.
When I bought a second, flat feeder, I knew the squirrels would enjoy it.
You can’t not feed the squirrels unless you live somewhere where there are no squirrels and where might that be? The best you can do is put up feeders which the squirrels won’t destroy.
Let’s hope the bears don’t show up.
So the hanging feeder is metal and guaranteed to survive attacking squirrels and the flat feeder basically says “Come one, come all.”
It took the squirrels about a week to discover the feeders. After that, it took another 48 hours to recognize I am a mere, powerless homeowner. So no matter what I tell them, they don’t have to go.
It’s something about me, I suppose. Garry says I’m a softie and everyone (everything) knows it. The first time I saw a fat squirrel sitting in the flat feeder, I tapped on the window and he was so surprised, he fell onto the deck and hit the stairs at a run.
This morning I got up and there was a smaller (girl?) squirrel settled into the flat feeder munching down about two pounds of corn and sunflower seeds. I tapped on the window. She looked me squarely in the eyes and dove back into the goodies. I tapped again. She ignored me completely.
I finally opened the door and said: “Hey, Squirrel Girl, move your butt outta there.” She looked at me and I swear it could have been Bonnie giving me the same look. She took another mouthful of corn and didn’t even twitch.
“I said move it on out. You’ve had enough. Leave something for the other guests.”
No movement. She sat there munching corn. She had a calculating look, the same one I get from the dogs. “How fast can she really run? What’s she gonna do anyhow? Hey, this corn is yummy.”
So I finally went out onto the deck and said: “Run for it, squirrel, or you’re going to be MY dinner.” Very slowly, she emerged from the feeder, climbed down the upright and sat on the railing. Looking at me. I said, “Go. I mean it.”
She walked — slowly — to the top of the stairs and sat there. I approached. She went down a couple of steps. I stomped on the deck. She went down two more steps. I waved my hands around and finally, she left. It was obvious the moment I wasn’t there, she’d be back. Even if I am there, she will still be back. There are fearless squirrels in my forest.
“Are you going to give her a name?” Garry asked.
This squirrel is not a visitor. She has moved in. She is now one of the kids and will expect high-quality victuals from this day forward.
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