Thursday, June 18, 2009

The birdfeeder

For your listening pleasure, while you read:
Lately, my greatest pleasure has been watching the traffic at my new bird feeder (I know, I have no life). There's a family of house sparrows that comes most often. The babies sit all fluffed up in the catalpa tree and the parents fetch seeds for them from the feeder. The babies have been venturing on to the feeder tray as well, and it's funny to watch them push each other off and then have to flap flap flap as fast as possible to get back up there.

There are a couple of mourning doves that occasionally buzz the feeder and scare the littler birds away, but since I put all sunflower seeds in there, they don't stay. Originally I had a mix of seeds in there, and the mourning doves were trying to get at it. Unfortunately (for them), they were too stupid to figure out how to eat out of the feeder and kept pecking at the plastic tube instead of going to the little eating stations. Now they mainly hang out in the tree and watch the action. I have named them Mutt and Jeff, but I can't really tell which is which.

At first I thought there were baby cardinals coming to the feeder because this little red-crested and -breasted bird kept coming over, but it turns out he's a house finch. There are actually a few of them that come by, and their songs are so sweet and beautiful. We named the main one Pimp Birdie Shorty.

Another new friend is Bucky the blue jay. He's a youngish bird that hangs out alone and comes to the feeder long enough to fetch a seed, then he goes over to the tree and uses a branch to bang it open. Lather, rinse, repeat. Blue jays can be really obnoxious and I've seen them fight other birds off of feeders, but Bucky is a dove, not a hawk, and he plays nice with the other birdies.

My favorite favorite is Henry James Bird (see above). He's the cardinal. The main reason I got the feeder was so that the cardinals would come, and the first bird I saw when we put it up was Henry James Bird. There's something so magical to me about the cardinal, I don't know why. I could watch him for hours, but he is here and gone so quickly! I think that being a cardinal, he has to be extra alert, because he's red and that makes him so visible. Twice, a female cardinal has come with him. Alice James Bird. Not to imply that there's anything incestuous going on (that I know of). Alice James Bird is really lovely. She's a soft golden color with an orange beak and the same black markings as the male around her face.

So I've been waking up every morning for the past couple of weeks between 5:00 and 6:00, usually because I can now recognize Henry James Bird's sound even in my sleep. Then I just sit up in bed and watch bird t.v. until I fall asleep again. We have three feeders, outside the kitchen, the bedroom, and the living room, so I get triple the bird watching. It's completely distracting. When I try to get work done, my eyes are irresistibly drawn to the feeder, and I can't bear to pull the shade down because I might miss Henry James Bird or someone else.

When I lived in San Francisco, I thought at first that I'd never stop noticing the colorful architecture, that I'd always be entranced by it and it would always jolt me out of whatever train of thought I was having. It only took a few months before I realized one day I didn't see it anymore. It became invisible through exposure. Right now, the birds have a similar effect on me. I hope it doesn't disappear! Right now it seems I'll never get tired of waiting for the cardinal to come, or watching the blue jay, or listening to the finches. It's like being a guest in bird world, and I like it here.

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Anonymous G said...

Awesome. I'd love to see pics of the baby sparrows too!

8:30 PM  

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