"Getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter allows you to remember who you are. Simplicity doesn’t change who you are, it brings you back to who you are."

Friday, February 5, 2021

Four and Twenty Blackbirds

 We have taken to feeding the birds again these past few years.  

Back when Scooter was alive, we had to stop because he would go around eating the birdseed that was on the ground, discarded. And then he would poop out very disturbing poo that looked like some kind of European pastry rolled in seeds.

Now that he is no longer with us, we have established a backyard bird heaven.  Bird houses, bird baths, bird feeders. Whenever I sit on the back porch or look out my windows in Winter, my "nocks" (Binoculars) are never to far from my hands.

When we moved here, there was nothing in our yard. No trees, no bushes...nothing.  Now, SM and I marvel at the fact that we've been here long enough to create an environment that encourages wildlife to stop by and sit a spell.

At first all we had were the common sparrows and finches and doves.  But as the years have gone by we are seeing more and more variety of birds.

We have all the typical backyard birds that you would expect along with the ever present squirrels that like to take advantage of the free food. Over that past few years, we've also noticed an increasing hawk presence that has been enjoyable to watch.  

We don't raise chickens so I have no problem having these beautiful birds around.  SM hates to see occasional bird kill but I remind him of the "circle of life".  They miss more often than they strike so it's no big hurt on my heart.

Once, and only once, we saw a Cooper's Hawk which is a beautiful bird to see close up.  Those red eyes! We think our resident Red-Shouldered Hawks likely chased him out of their territory.

We have a resident Red-Bellied Woodpecker that hangs out in my neighbors yard. He swoops in for some seed from time to time. And we have seen some Downy Woodpeckers also but haven't figured out where their home base is yet.

Anyhow, with it being Winter, we have been very attentive with keeping our feeders full. And now word has gotten out.  The Cowbirds have found us.

So far, they swing by for breakfast and then again dinner. Since they don't stay longer than 20-30 minutes, I don't mind. Cowbirds gotta eat too. And then everything calms down and the doves, sparrows, chickadees, finches...everybody else can get theirs.

Probably my favorite new bird to my backyard is the Tufted Titmouse.  Love his soft colors.

During spring and summer, we will see Goldfinches and Bluebirds buzz by.  They never stay for long.  I might need to invest in separate feeders if I want to encourage a visit.  

One year, we had a Bluebird try to nest in one of our boxes. Not sure what happened but after about a month they abandoned the nest.

All in all, I think we are on the right path.  Seems like every year it gets better and better. What's it like in your backyard?  Any advice?


  1. Many kudos to you two for building your "bird haven." Supposedly because of what we humans have done to poison our environment, there has been a drastic decline in the wild bird population so everything we can do to help the little guys along is worthwhile. We keep seed feeders, a log peanut butter feeder and suet balls out all winter but we've noticed a definite lack of the wild birds we used to have around here. The little red squirrels we have seem to greatly appreciate the bird seeds and our flying squirrels LUV the peanut butter.

  2. P.S. Not sure I needed the European pastry illustration first thing this morning! ;o)

  3. Yes, we are backyard birders as well. A few years back, we registered to become a Wildlife Sanctuary, so we provide food, water, shelter and other amenities for our feathered friends and other critters.
    We haven't seen a cowbird since we left Florida! Glad they are visiting your yard.
    Our most common are doves, finches, crows, tufted titmice, chickadees, cardinals, bluebirds and blue jays, and seasonally, hummers. It is so fun to see them interacting with each other.

  4. My back fence neighbor two doors down has her backyard setup for the birds with feeders and boxes. We put up two birdbaths and enjoy watching them come into our yard for their early morning bug hunt and late afternoon bath. Always a joy.

  5. We are in West Virginia, and have so many birds at the feeders this year. We feed only black sunflower seeds, and seed cakes of various kinds for the woodpeckers. We have a good variety of birds, but none as spectacular as your hawk. Ours are goldfinches in winter dress, titmice, cardinals, wrens, snowbirds, nuthatches, blue jays, pine siskins, the occasional purple finch, a range of different woodpeckers. It's such a pleasure to watch them. In the woods around us we have barn owls and screech owls, a couple of red-tailed hawks, and those beautiful pileated woodpeckers. I look forward to spring, when the migrants come visiting.