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Birds and Forums

Posted 05-11-2008 at 11:30 PM by Doug Nelson
Updated 05-12-2008 at 12:40 AM by Doug Nelson

A few months ago I moved to a new house. For the first time in a couple of decades I have a proper back yard. I've taken to doing the standard things, mowing, planting a few pretties, but my favorite thing so far is I've started feeding wild birds.

I've noticed a lot of similarities between the birds at my feeder and the visitors to our RetouchPRO forums here.

There are the wrens and sparrows that feed lightly but often, chirp and tweet the best they can, then quickly leave.

There are the finches that eat voraciously for their size, but only one particular seed, maybe uttering a single peep before they leave, but probably not.

The blackbird comes, eats whatever he can, then generously repays with his unpleasant mechanical buzz. But it's ok, I know he means well, and is doing what he can.

The doves are the most useful bird I get. They constantly scour the ground for dropped seeds that would otherwise sprout. Plus their comical walk and pleasant cooing are so delightful that I feel I'm not doing nearly enough to make them feel welcome.

The cardinals are odd birds indeed. They come every day, but rarely seem to eat. Yet they sing their little hearts out. I suspect that might be the real reason they visit.

The bluejay swoops in, carefully making sure he's disturbed as many birds as possible, takes a couple of cursory pecks, caws once, then flys away. I won't see him for days at a time, yet I know he'll always be back. He does no real harm, and I'd miss his colorful presence.

The dreaded grackles, on the other hand, I could do without. They arrive, usually in a swarm, bully all the other birds out of the way, but then don't seem to have any interest in the food (I suspect they're criticizing it). Sometimes they make camp for a day or so, but usually they pass quickly.

And then there's the mockingbird. By far the most brilliant singer, but he knows it. He bumps aside other birds, but more out of indifference than malice. He eats piggishly, with food flying everywhere, and no other bird will come close when he's around. But then he flies to the top of the feeder stand, cleans his little beak, and lets his improv opera soar.

I love all the birds, but I'd miss the mockingbird the most. So today I gave them their own separate feeder, loaded with just what they like best, but quite removed from where the rest of the birds eat.

I guess the only real difference between birds and forum posters is that posters can choose their species.
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  1. Old Comment
    Janet Petty's Avatar
    Now all you need is a natural looking bird bath and lots of hummingbird feeders.

    My neighbor has a hollowed out boulder in his yard that he keeps full of fresh water for the birds. On a warm day, they line up like women, who during intermission will run for the bathroom only to stand in line and patiently wait their turn.

    The hummers, on the other hand, are quite cheeky little dive bombers with no fear of man or beast. I've actually seen them gorging themselves with a live hawk sitting on the end of the deck rapidly swiveling his head as they fly by.

    Congrats to you on your new home. I'm glad you are enjoying it.
    Posted 05-27-2008 at 08:45 PM by Janet Petty Janet Petty is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Doug Nelson's Avatar
    I should have a boulder. I bought a nice birdbath, but it was ceramic and fell over and broke (I told you I was new at this).

    I did get a hummingbird feeder, but the instructions say to hang it in the shade, and I won't have any reliable shade for a few years (new subdivision). Unless I build something, which is a possibility, but I'll wait at least a year to get used to the yard in all seasons.
    Posted 05-29-2008 at 08:09 AM by Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Hi, I just wanted to say that I love your description of your bird visitors. I have a quite wonderful girl parakeet who lives in and on top of her roomy cage next to my computer in what I call my studio. (the larger bedroom in my apartment) Right now she is sitting on one foot with her other one tucked under her wing and her eyes keep closing and opening as she sits and dozes. Perhaps you can understand why as I have been exploring this website I had to read your story of your backyard birds. Thanks , Shirley
    Posted 06-14-2008 at 05:47 PM by Shirms Shirms is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Sweetlight's Avatar
    What a nice little thought about our feathered friends Doug but I am afraid it will bring from me some major confessions. First of all they all give me the heebie jeebies, especially the caged, obnoxious, 1 billion bars above acceptable decibel level type that sling their nastienest all over the place and I tend to find the owners of such birds usually quite as odd. I have no doubt that somewhere admist and among the slurry of tequila, lime mix, ice cubes and a super blender, Steiglitz wondered by and dropped in a ton of decisive moment for me with a heavy dose of the aviary mixed in. This in some way has thrown the bird world out of kilter and has caused a "Groundhog Day" type situation where birds make it a point to do the oddest things in front of me, to the point that if I find myself being surrounded by a group I quickly move on, ignoring any actions that may take place on their part. Their odd behavior id my presence has lead to major awards from major magazines around the world mixed in with major ridicule from friends and peers alike. They believe me not despite my intense protest that it is physically impossible for me to ignore the inane behavior of these animals and I want away from them. I have a favorite book, "To Kill a Mockingbird" of course mixed in with a bookfull of bird trivia pertaining to merely me and the birds alone and one day I am quite sure I will wake up out of the longest session of electric shock treatment ever covered in bird feces, surrounded by thousands of hand carved bird calls of all kinds whittled by my now calloused hands. The only near plausable explanation I have to any of this is that I read a book at a very young age called "Johnathan Livingston Seagull" which to a young man, just about in the middle of a huge hormonal change was strangely aroused by some crazy seductive sharing of cocktails and sexy talk by two birds in a bar. I feel much better now after this bit of self therapy and also sorry for all of you normally bird adjusted folks who will find it hard to be in my cage ever again.
    Posted 08-14-2008 at 03:38 AM by Sweetlight Sweetlight is offline
  5. Old Comment
    I do so love the way you described the birds. I live in a small city with a large yard of roses and other blooming plants. I see the birds that are in your post and you really got them and me right. There was a mockingbird that would hit me on the shoulder or head when I would get out of my car. I removed it's nest from a large rose bush near the walk when the babies were gone. The cats, dogs and children were glad to see it go. Now I have added hummingbird feeders and watch the little creatures when I can.
    I was on this forum before and trying to learn the art of improving my pics when a grackle came along. Instead of learning from what he said, I got my feelings hurt and flew away. I am back and still trying to learn. I think that I want to become a dove. I so love the pair that I have been watching from my porch.
    Congratulations on you new home and thank you for sharing your view.
    Posted 08-30-2008 at 07:13 AM by SMURPHY405 SMURPHY405 is offline

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