Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Birdfeeder Before a Storm

Another thing I've learned, primarily from the birdfeeder outside my sitting-room window,  is that birds tank up before a storm.  As surely as drivers before a trip, when our backyard inhabitants sense an upcoming siege of weather, whether wind, rain, snow, or ice, they attack the feeder with a vengeance, making quick work of a forty-six dollar bag of hulled sunflower seeds (which I buy to reduce the chaff on the deck).

On an ordinary sunny day in Georgia, we see an intermittent stream of one or two seed-eaters at the feeder, usually just one species at a time---more at dawn or dusk, but on and off all day.  Primarily they are cardinals, house finches, gold finches, chickadees, or doves---all operating under a kind of understood etiquette to wait one's turn. 

But comes the calm before a storm and the rules change.  Then it's each for his own, survival of the fittest, feast before famine, and let's see how many feather-weights this thing can hold, boys.   A lot, it turns out, in a concurrent mix of species that is a bird watcher's delight.  Fruit and insect eaters, too.  Woodpeckers (downy & red-bellied), jays, nuthatches (brown-headed & white-breasted), multiple warblers I can't begin to identify, mocking birds, brown thrashers, towhees, and this year, oh glorious this year, my fabled bluebird family.

To be graced with a visit from two speckly-breasted first-year bluebirds on the morning of the day of a rainstorm is to have a good day.  I like to think they are the newbies that came into the world in the copper-roofed bird house last April.  See posts dated April 10-May15, 2011 for my "bluebird nest chronicles."   Some might say I need a life.  I think those who would say it need one.

What I do need are better photography skills, but how would I have time to take up yet another hobby, what with backyard longsitting and all?  The feeder birds always see me coming.  They seem to be at their most alert when they have to duck their heads into a dark hole for a bite to crunch.  Try as I might, I can't capture them at a moment when there are a dozen or more stoking up for a storm.   dkm


Anonymous said...

Have you ever grown your own sunflowers? I think it's a wonderful pasttime watching birds. I spend a lot of time watching the feathers around here. Makes one feel quite peaceful.

Jane Robertson said...

I like it that there is a feeding etiquette - one breed at a time - and then the 'all in'!! With snow thick on the ground for the last few days our birds have had slim pickings. They wait in large numbers for me to feed the chooks...

I don't know anything about fancy cameras but it sounds as tho you need one with a super-duper zoom lens?? I too bemoan the fact that I can't get in close at any distance - that is why we are still waiting for a pukeko pic!

dkm said...

Yes---the elusive pukeko---haven't heard from him in awhile---