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Enjoying my bird buddies


June 4, 2012
Billie Shelton , The Daily Freeman Journal

Something else I never thought I'd be is a bird watcher. Somehow that term bird conjures up for me a rather nerdy image of someone with a pith helmet and binoculars tramping around in the wilds trying to locate the perfect bird specimen.

And while I don't believe I qualify in the truest sense of the word as a bird watcher, I have to admit that both my husband and I have been enjoying the birds that we see through our kitchen windows as they come to investigate our feeders this spring. These visitors are bright and cheerful. And they like how we set the table for them, something I always appreciate in a visitor. That's one of my favorite things, in fact - having friends and family over for a meal or dessert. Maybe that's why I'm enjoying these little visitors.

The birds cause me to wonder about things. One such point is: how can these little birds eat so much? And just a peck at a time, too. They don't exactly stuff it in with both hands, as humans can do. I mean, if there is so much as a crumb in the feeder there's always at least one somebody there munching down. Watch out if the feeder is full.

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We have only three feeders - one for hummingbirds, one for finches, and a bigger one for everybody else. These birds seem to know instantly when fresh food is put out, too, and they go to work immediately demolishing it. They're not exactly need about it, either.

In addition to eating so much, I wonder how the feathered visitors remember from year to year where the feeders are located. Do they pass the word somehow that the Sheltons are putting on a good feed again? Or is it just luck they happen by the same place each spring?

Because of the unrelenting wind we have been enduring this spring, we are also curious as to just how these little birds manage to hold on to their perches on the feeders in the gale forces that blow here day after day. Especially on the finch feeder, which swings free in any puff of a breeze. I mean, it's almost like a miniature carnival ride when you see a finch sitting on a perch contentedly pecking away at the food while the feeder dances and sways. But it's not enough to lose the bird. He may give up and fly off, or decide he's full for this trip, but we've never seen one of the bright yellow beauties get dumped off by the wind.

Yes, I understand that the answer to most of my questions comes under the category of instinct. So I will just continue to enjoy my bird buddies when they stop by. I don't believe that makes me a bird watcher.



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