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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Watching the Birds

My backyard is a bird sanctuary. I have two feeders, winterberry, a bird bath, and so many perches to create this fabulous bird sanctuary. Recently I added a new bird feeder and moved the first one to a new location. Today in a short time a dozen small songbirds gathered to titter about and chirp in lengthy conversations as they fluttered from fence to branch to the new feeder with four perches. Watching them negotiate and navigate upon which perch to light and in what pecking or hierarchic order as attested to when one winged songbird tried only to be rebuffed by another. The chirping fluttering about sounds filled the air. At the relocated original feeder, pigeons and morning doves cooed and physically asserted themselves onto the swinging and swaying feeder. I purchased the new feeder because the larger birds dominated the space on the original feeder leaving the smaller more desired avian visitors unable to feed and they eventually spent less time here than they do now filling my backyard with natures symphony. And all about on terra firma were more of the same. The cats were tired of chasing them away as they lounged unfazed under the azalea.

Watching the birds had me contemplating the learning that went into the little birds figuring out how to navigate this new multi perched feeder. They gathered all around chirping away as each fluttered from his perch to recon the feeder. Eventually one lighted on a perch, then another on another as three shrieking explorers fluttered about to observe what the first two had done. One attempted to replace the second successful explorer only to be repelled away. Eventually after trial and error, all four perches were occupied and slowly all dozen were feed. Oh the chatter was heavenly.

During the flurry at the perch feeder the pigeons and doves were using body action to get a place on the feeder. The pigeons had a hierarchy while the doves seemed like siblings. Learning went on with these larger birds. First, after realizing they would not be able to feed at the new feeder, they needed to discover where the original feeder had gone. Once one bird discovered it, the process of navigating the fire escape and landing on the relocated familiar feeder became the days lesson.

And amongst all this chaos, a red headed woodpecker lighted upon a branch of the winterberry and started gorging on the red berries. Scurrying up and down the four by four post used to hold the two mounted hurricane lamps, the woodpecker pounded away on the mock tree only to return to the winterberry realizing grubs were not to be found on the post. During the flurry of the little songbirds on one side and the jocking for space on the other side by the larger birds, the wood pecker leisurely gorged on the red berries.

The cardinals didn't visit today. Too bad since so much seed was on the ground, but was being cleaned up by the other ground feeding birds.

All this action was going on with me seated in a chair where I was reading and two cats lounged out under a shading azalea bush.

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