Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have two bird feeders at my home. It's fun to watch the birds. I have cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, ringed necked doves, chirping sparrows, red-headed woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, Eastern bluebirds, and occasionally gold finches. There's a pair of cardinals that have been nesting in one of my oaks the over 10 years.

Another pair have been nesting for a couple of years. It's been fun to watch them with their fledglings. For a few days, the parent birds will continue to feed them. But after awhile, they stop. The fledglings flap their wings, open their beaks and chase their parents around. The parents tolerate this behavior for a few days and will feed the youngsters every once in a while. But then the parents start chasing the fledglings away. They've taught their babies what's good to eat, to be aware of predators, and how to fly. They've given them the skills necessary to survive on their own.

The sparrows are much the same way. Except when their fledglings first jump out of the nest, their parents so them places to hide. They do this until the fledgling sparrows have more experience to fly. One fledgling had some sort of accident. He is without one leg. It is very difficult for him to hop across the ground in search of seed. But he manages.

The woodpeckers are fun to watch. The downey woodpeckers will climb down a tree while the red-headed ones climb up. The northern flickers root for bugs on the ground and generally ignore the bird seed and sunflower seeds provided.

There are two major flocks. There are about 30 mourning doves and about the same number of sparrows. The ring-necked doves usually do not flock but one Saturday, there were about 8 of them.

The cardinals have been prolific this year. At any given time, I can count up to eight cardinals at one feeder and another 4-5 at the other.

I started the bird feeders because I was concerned about the amount of land that was cleared close to my home. The developers promised they would keep the oak trees but sadly, a lot were torn down. The birds lost feeding grounds. The developer bull dozed the area and put in paved roads on what were dirt tracks. It has been over 6 months since the developer has done any work. The ground is slowly recovering. Perhaps the developer is a victim of the current financial crisis. I suspect it is because of the large number of apartments built in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. There are so many now that rent prices have dropped.

Perhaps the cleared area will once again grow into a nesting area and refuge for other animals. There's a turtle my son calls Bob that lives in the shed and a possum that lives there as well. A coyote has been spotted by others in the neighborhood. I haven't seen any sign of the deer that used to come to my yard in the winter looking for acorns.

I wished I had started the bird feeders sooner. The antics of the birds can bring a smile. The squirrels do as well. There's one that is super hyper and vigilant. He spends more time scampering up and down the trees more than he does eating. There are about ten squirrels. For winter, I'll add another feeder and another bird bath.

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