Pretty Little Birds

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).

Northern Flicker woodpecker (photo by Myles Green via Flickr

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!!!

Black-capped chickadee (photo by Wolf Read via

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.

House finch (photo by TOTORORO.RORO via Flickr

11 responses

  1. ..what a nice connection to have with your Dad Jen.I always think that some of life’s best moments are found in the “little things”. Good luck with your bird feeders but watch out for the rats … unfortunately they get hungry too…lolol!

  2. That’s great how you found common ground to connect with your dad….Sometimes that’s all it takes to start softening to one another. You know how I love birds ~ you’ll have to have your camera poised to get some shots of them feeding at their new grub spots!

  3. What an awesome post Jen, it is great that you have found something that you and your dad both love…you are making memories! We have a bird feeder and those crazy little guys burn through the feed in about a day! What is the “no mess” bird feed? We actually had to move our bird feeder, all the seeds completely took over the garden below the feeder đŸ™‚

  4. My favorite are the chickadees. if you sit still and calm on our deck they will land and take the sunflower seeds right from your hand. We are moving from acreage and will miss them, We will definitely enticing them at our new place.

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