10.04.2008 | By: Alisa Callos

The Bird Feeder

Sam and I have set up a bird feeder outside our front window. It sits on the rail of the deck and we have filled it with black oil sunflower seeds. The song sparrows have come in droves…along with about eight pairs of Red Crossbills, a small chickadee and a couple of very shy Black Headed Grosbeaks.

Immediately after setting up the feeder we got out our field guide and set to work. The Crossbills were easy as they have a very distinctive bill and there aren’t very many species in our book. The Grosbeaks took a little longer because they never stay at the feeder for long and they spook very easily. The sparrows are almost a lost cause for amateurs like Sam and I. There are so many of them, they all look alike and they won’t sit still. We have several different sizes however and so I think that we have probably 3-5 species.

The sparrows are by far the funniest. They fly at each other, flutter their wings and get down-right snippy. They’ll fluff up their feathers and open their beaks as wide as possible when trying to intimidate their neighbor. Sometimes they’ll even land on each other as they jostle for space at the feeder. Yesterday I set another pie tin of seeds out on the deck because there were just too many of them. Now we have our very own flock of birds. One minute they will be at the feeder and then for no apparent reason, all will swoop off to the trees, sometimes leaving only a straggler or two. A few minutes later, they are back again. What amazes me is that despite all the twitting and fluttering, everyone gets fed, they don’t seem to mind if the fellow next to them is the same species or not, big or little, one and all eventually get a turn. Nothing is wasted. I’m sure there is a parallel to be drawn, a possible commentary on our society, but today is Saturday, and I am content just sitting here with my cup of coffee, enjoying the show.


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