I haven’t always had the easiest relationship with my father (even at 48, I’m still an argumentative teenager when I’m around him), but a year ago, birds helped bring us closer. He’s a nature lover through and through, with a particularly big soft spot for the menagerie of birds that visit his well-stocked backyard feeders. He tends to all those little chickadees and finches with the same love and devotion you’d see at a Kindergarten Christmas pageant. He even set up a bat house for the dreaded black menace (ick).
I was touched by his connection to the birds and decided it might be something we could share in common. So I hung a bird feeder in my own yard and waited. And waited. Nothing.
I asked my dad what on earth I was doing wrong? Didn’t I have the most expensive super food? Was the feeder in the right spot for safety? Were the dogs bothering them? What was wrong with the ungrateful little wrens?
He offered me lots of advice and told me to just be patient (something I believe he may have mentioned a gazillion times throughout my life…see the pattern?).
Suddenly the birds found me! They loved the suet tubes I hung in front of my kitchen window and the seeds, fruits and nuts I put in the feeder hanging from the branches of a tree. It was amazing. I’d frequently spot eight at a time wrestling for spots on each of the perches.
At one point, we even had two northern flickers battling it out on the suet–unheard of!!
My favourite little visitors are the tiny black-capped chickadees, whose little legs look like they could snap in the wind. Adorable. The red and yellow house finches are plentiful too. I’m discovering a lot about bird behaviour, particularly their tendancy to duck for cover in the leafy tree whenever an eagle’s shadow crosses the back yard. They clear out pretty fast when the blue jays come swooping in too. Did I mention the humming birds? Fascinating birds to watch!!!
It doesn’t cost much for some of natures most entertaining creatures! All I have is a simple tube feeder, and I buy a “no mess” bag of bird feed every few months (although right now they’re bulking up for the winter and eating like little pigs). I imagine I’m giving nature a little helping hand.
Best of all, I get to talk about it with my dad…doesn’t get better than that.