Feathered Friends

It’s that time of year again: when it’s clear why “global warming” has morphed into “climate change.” Yes, winter has arrived about a month early in Our Nation’s Capital.

3-photo collage of flame bush in winter - red berries and snowThis year, we decided to try a bird feeder. Armed with advice from the local professionals about what the local birds will eat and what the local squirrels won’t, I completed the complex installation process, pressing three suction cups to the window inset in our back door. All of 20 feet from the adjacent bush, it might not be the optimal location, but after a day of cautious scouting, the birds did show up. Each had their own story to tell.

Goldfinch at feeder with blur of another arriving bird in background.

I just love finding a place to eat that nobody else knows about.

American goldfinch perched on window feeder.

Hang on, hang on!

American goldfinch with single seed in beak.

One at a time, Frank. One at a time.

American goldfinch staring dreamily off into the distance.

I’ve always liked a moment of reflection after a meal.

Goldfinch with seed hull in beak.

I’m sorta in the middle of something here, Martha! Can it wait?

Finch at feeder, looking backwards.

Was that a noise?

House finch with head twisted around.

There it is again!

Finch sliding down sloped roof of feeder.

Damn, this thing is slippery!

Three house finches at feeder

Martha! Did you hear something on the roof?

Male house finch with wing blurred in background.

See? When I wave my wing like this, you can’t see it, can you? Told you so!

Male house finch with seed in beak

I know I’m slow. Mom always said to chew 10 times.

Goldfinch peeking around corner of feeder.

Is someone there?

Close-up of finch with seed detritus on beak.

Sad? No, I just feel a bit . . . pensive.

Two American goldfinches at ends of window feeder.

Was it something I said? Hon?


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13 Responses to Feathered Friends

  1. Tom Watson says:

    Great pictures, Isabel.

  2. Jim Robertson says:

    Nice collection of birds and images Isabel. Hopefully we’ll see some evening grosbeaks this year as they are apparently expected in good numbers due to lack of food elsewhere. (They’ll go through your food supply in no time – if you have what they are partial to!!)

  3. Jim Taylor says:

    I guess they don’t have a morning paper to interfere with their conversation over the breakfast table.
    Jim T

  4. One of the best things about the long Canadian winter is having bird feeders, although I have heard some say it interferes with natural feeding. Personally, I think any help any creature can get is worth making the effort to provide. The photos are lovely, as always. The dialogue is priceless.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Yes, I’ve heard that, too. I’ve tried to plant bird-friendly shrubs and trees – regrettably, these also tend to be squirrel-friendly, and the birds don’t have a chance. So I’m pleased to see them munching away, while the squirrels stay away.

  5. Judith Umbach says:

    Congratulations! On the installation of the feeder. And on the arrival of birds. Great placement for photos.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – Yes, it is a good placement, although the birds are a bit skittish when they see any movement on our side of the glass. We might set something up further out in the yard. In the meantime, it’s nice to have so many birds visiting.

  6. Absolutely darling.

    John has of course been out painting, thrilled with an early winter (!) and his little woodland creatures were ecstatic to see him. He said even the usually reticent — but demandingly squawky — bluejays came right down, shut up, and got to work getting nuts to “squirrel” away — and a new visitor, a little pilated woodpecker joined in. The usually more timid red squirrels scooted all around John boots, looking up in anticipation @ their Dr. Doolittle.

    In other painting spots, the red squirrels have become very tame and will sit right on top of John’s boots to eat a nut, then take another one off to hide. In some spots, the chickadees walk all over his palette or land on his brush handles. They do make John laugh.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Someone told me recently about a program run by a seniors’ residence or nursing home, desensitizing birds to the human form by setting up dummies with bird seed in their outstretched hands. Eventually, even the most skittish will come to people offering food. And for those in wheelchairs, they also set out seated dummies, to get the birds used to people in that position.

  7. Pingback: More Feathered Friends – Traditional Iconoclast

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