The Birds are Back!

The Birds are Back!

I used to hate birds! I have written about this aversion before. All their flapping and flying, crowing and cawing terrified me when I was young.  But, as I have become older I’ve learned to appreciate their presence in my yard and in my life.

Yesterday, I ran some errands. We have been blessed with some really sunny days and blue skies here in the mid-west this month. It feels great to be outside, even though the air is still crisp and cold. After I helped my husband clean up one of our garden beds last weekend, I filled one of our bird feeders with the last of the seed I had from the previous season. I went to get more. And, while I was there, I picked up some meal worms for our resident blue birds. We have four nesting boxes on our property that my husband made with my garden club students, many years ago. About a month ago I had him make sure the boxes were cleaned out and ready for new bluebird nests.

bluebirdproject2007

Once again excitement filled my morning as I note a bird perched on the edge of one of the nesting boxes. Out came my camera and I clicked away. After several minutes of observing this bird, I knew that it was not  blue bird but probably a wren.

Then, later in the afternoon, I whipped out my camera again because I am fairly certain I saw a red-winged black bird perched atop one of our Norway Spruce in our backyard.

It seems the birds are back!  We have another sunny day here today, it seems. So, I will get the new birdseed and mealworms out to welcome the birds back to our yard. It will be fun to watch the population grow as they return this spring.  Soon, I’ll be able to hang my hummingbird feeder, too. Those tiny winged creatures amaze me with their buzzing, chirping, and ceaseless movement. Besides the Blue Birds, they are probably my favorite bird to watch.

Yes! The birds are back! Welcome home!

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Busy Finch on a Morning Filled with Birds

Busy Finch on a Morning Filled with Birds

This morning I was able to watch a female purple finch work on making her nest. She caught my eye as I looked out my kitchen window and saw movement in the garden below, near an ornamental Korean Lilac tree close to blooming. Busily, she kept adding pieces of mulch and plant debris to the clutch in her beak, obviously approving of the quality and availability.

Not making the connection at first, I soon realized her nest was being made in tightly woven confines of branches in the soon to flower lilac. She nearly disappeared when she entered the rounded crown where her family would  grow.

After a brief period, and maybe realizing I was watching, she flew out of the tree, off to another place to collect treasures of twigs that might strengthen her soon to be nest.  In the time I sat waiting for her return, now with camera in hand, I noticed other birds were checking out Miss Kim II (fond nickname of the Lilac Tree). Several robins visited, barn swallows, and at least one tiny black-capped chickadee.  The swallow, or at least what I thought was a swallow, was really checking out the tree and sat in it for several minutes. The lady finch had returned, now only ten feet away, sitting on our deck railing, again with a mouthful of the newest nest components. She patiently sat, waiting for the other birds to leave. Again, I assumed she could see me, now the lady with the camera, and wanted to be sure I was there to do nothing more than take pictures.

Eventually, the purple finch flew back onto the very top branches of Miss Kim II, still holding her precious oral cargo. There, she very obviously checked around the yard for what I imagine she thought were any signs of potential predators. After looking thoroughly, I saw her fly into the tree once again to add to her nest.

There was a flurry of song bird activity in our yard this morning. My observations all started with noticing a very plump Eastern Blue Bird siting on our deck rail, in the very same spot the finch subsequently patiently waited to return to the popular, odiferous, and soon to bloom lilac tree.

The beauty of the birds, the color of the tree, and the persistence of the finch, all attracted my attention today. It’s the little things in life. Notice them.

The Birds are Back!

The Birds are Back!

Growing up, I was never a fan of birds. On a trip to the zoo when I was much younger than ten, I witnessed a girl with red hair be attacked by a bird in the aviary at the local Zoo. Needless to say, it left an impression on me.   Then, there was the time we were in Myrtle Beach with my family over Easter break, when a seagull relieved himself on me while I was sunbathing. Human beach bird feeders brought forth contempt from me as I avoided their “area” of the beach for years to come. Finally, the barn swallows would swoop and dive at my long, black hair that seemed to flow out behind me and whip around my face as I performed the requisite the adolescent chore of grass cutting. So, it is true for the above obvious reasons, birds and I were never friends when I was growing up.

Some where along the way, that began to change. I really don’t know when. But, I can tell you now that I appreciate the birds, with their grace, and beauty that arrive in my yard to tell me spring is here. In the last two weeks, despite some heavy snowfall, I have noted first the return of robins, then purple finches, and now red-winged black birds. They join the imposing black crows that have found some sustenance on our grounds throughout the winter. Soon,  I hope to see blue birds, cardinals, and my personal favorite, the ruby throated hummingbirds!

I have taken to providing a fruit and nut mix of bird seed that sits in a feeder in my yard and homemade nectar that hangs just outside my kitchen window for the hummingbirds. The birds are fun to watch, adding color and movement to our yard. Spring is near, the colorful, chirping birds are telling me so.