Saturday, May 30, 2009

Outside Birds

Yesterday was Stevie's chance to shine. Today we're chuckling at the outside birds. We have a suet feeder hanging under the eaves just outside our picture window in the kitchen. The regular visitors are from four families: the brown warblers, the downy woodpeckers, the catbirds and cardinals. The cardinals are the biggest but most timid. They don't realize that they could easily hang on to the suet feeder. So they fly first to my son's bicycle tire and then launch up, hovering like hummingbirds, grabbing suet and then winging away. (I'm sure they're feeding babies back in the holly trees). It seems like such an extraordinary expenditure of energy for a small amount of suet, but they keep coming back so it must be worth it. This is a not very good photo of one of them doing the hover.

The downy woodpeckers zip in and out all the time, undeterred by anything else going on -- except someone walking out on the front porch. And zip is the word. They seem to be able to stop in midflight to change direction. If they get scared off, they only retreat a short distance, and not
 scared off for any length of time at all. As long as they eat the suet and don't bang on our house, we're happy!

The brown warblers are in and out too, and when they're not eating, they're singing.  Loud. Right outside our windows. What God withheld from them in color he made up for in voice. Fortunately, they're pretty tuneful. They're also the ones our inside parakeet seems to most respond to when she hears them.

Then we get to the catbird. This bird is a mixed blessing. What an amazingly inventive creature. Although he's nearly as big as the cardinal, he's now where near as skittish. He figure out how to hang on to the feeder very quickly. Then he learned how to perch on the top of a nearby (unstable) windchime. He flies in from the right and lands lightly on top. The first few times he slid right off and had to recover mid-air. But after a few flights he nailed it every time! From here he can do a short flight to the feeder, rather than expending the energy 
to fly up from the ground and grab ahold of the suet cage. That is so 
clever! He's a marvelous flier, and beautifully sleek in his gray feathers. As he perches on top of that windchime the phrase, "sitting in the catbird's seat" is inevitable! Still, catbirds are pretty annoying to other birds. They're egg thieves, nest robbers, and food hogs. I know, you can't blame a catbird for being a catbird.  It's just their nature.

The funny thing is that the brown warblers can drive the catbird off. They're not the least bit daunted by this modern day Fagan!

So, if the catbird is smart but devious, the warblers sing beautifully and are fearless, the woodpeckers are the picture of perseverance, where does that leave the cardinal?

Big, Dumb, and Beautiful.

But who does everyone want to take photos of? Yep...there's probably a life lesson here that I don't want my kids to absorb.


1 comment:

Maria Berg said...

It is difficult to catch bird with the camera.
You did it,

No we do not have cactus and Agave in Sweden I was on a trip to Tunisian.

I have been to Niagara falls i really liked it.

So nice all the yellow you show.
/Maria Berg, sweden