The Birds of Spring

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My parents got us all into feeding and watching birds. I don’t remember when they decided to put the first bird feeder up but they were ahead of the curve for sure. We ended up feeding mostly squirrels but my Dad didn’t really care and got them their own feeding station. I know Mom was dying to get hummingbirds and I remember her excitement when one first showed up.

With the difference in personalities, they came at it from different angles. Mom just enjoyed watching them. Dad was a life list kind of person (it still feels a little odd to be using past tense for him by the way). So they made many trips to places to see birds. Mom liked those trips as well but she was just as happy looking out the kitchen window at the birds around the house.

I’m closer to her. The birds are just going about natural bird behavior of trying to find food but there is just a wonder in watching them come in and grab a seed and go off. Watching them in the bird bath is entertaining as well. And when we get to see adults feeding babies, that is all kinds of fun. It gets noisy but I love just sitting outside and listening to the bird calls. Guess I’m just easily entertained.

Given our cold winters, there are many birds that are smart enough to winter in warmer places and this is the peak of the spring migration so you can often see birds that aren’t normally around. They stay for a couple of weeks eating and then move on to other places. But it adds to the color and sound for a bit.

For Christmas a couple of years ago, my brother got me a new feeder (bird themed gifts are typically part of any Christmas). We’ve about run out of available real estate but I found a spot on the deck that was away from the other feeders and it became an instant hint. I think because it is closer to the woods and gives them a lot of places to hide.

And a few days ago, a pair of male Rose Breasted Grosbeaks showed up. They are occasional visitors but it had been years since one had stopped by. I’ve got a picture below but they colors are more vivid in real life. There was much excitement and we took a bunch of photos. (I probably could have linked the camera to my computer and used an actual picture rather than this stock one but I’m lazy). On a sad note, it would have been something I would have shared with my parents – bird stories were always something we could bond over but that is no longer possible.

This morning, the first female arrived. As you can see above, she lacks the color of the male. Not true of all bird species but, in several, the male is brightly colored while the female is more drab. She gets the tough job of sitting on the nest and it would be hard to blend in with the bright red patch the male has. The feeder was actually empty and I could almost imagine her sitting out there and thinking “they told me there was food here – where is it”. So I went out in the rain to reload it because I didn’t want her to give up. Theoretically, they could stick around but I suspect we are just a stopover. But migratory birds seem to remember so maybe they’ll become more common.

The other bird that stopped by was an oriole. When my parents retired to the beach town, one benefit was that they were kind of in the migratory flyway and the mix of trees was perfect for migrating orioles. I remember Mom rushing out to get an oriole feeder and then telling us all about the number of birds that stopped by. Unfortunately, no feeder has been out since she died (Pop just wasn’t able to keep up with everything). I suppose the birds just moved on to the next spot.

So I was seriously hoping that maybe I could attract them and I went out to get an oriole feeder. But I think they only dropped in because of one tree in our woods and they quickly grew bored with it because they’ve been gone. I’ll keep the feeder up for a bit just in case and, who knows, maybe next year it might attract them.

This time is short because they pass through rather quickly. But while they are here, we enjoy our new visitors.

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