Birds Keeping This Writer Busy

If you have kept up with my writing and broadcasting for the past bunch of years, I don’t

have to tell you of my interest in song birds. One of the pleasures I enjoy is to sit on my back porch, bird book, binoculars, camera and cup of coffee in hand and enjoy all the flit and flutter that is going on in my back yard.

            I keep my bird feeders filled, one for hummingbirds and one for song birds that are making sure they’re not going hungry.

            Several species are regulars, some almost too regular. I don’t know how many blue jays have been reared in the trees and bushes around the yard but I sometimes see as many as seven or eight at a time scarfing down sunflower seeds. One thing rather comical is to watch either a fledgling from this year of a teenager who lives in his mother’s basement, a bird fully as large as a grown-up jay, sitting and fluttering its wings begging for a parent to offer him a morsel. Big baby.

            Others that are regular daily visitors are cardinals. We were somewhat excited when we watched a female cardinal making regular trips to a gardenia growing just outside my office window. Upon investigating the shrub, I spotted a nest; they reared a brood of little cardinals within spitting distance of my window

            Others have taken advantage of the free lodging we have provided in the form of three bird boxes I have hung around the yard. First, there was a tufted titmice pair that reared a brood of six little fluffy fellows in one of the boxes.

            Next, a pair of Carolina wrens liked a box I mounted on the back fence, not that wrens needed a traditional nesting site. I have had them make nests in an old pair of boots on the porch, in my wife’s hanging basket by the front door and one time wrens kept me off the lake for a few weeks when they built a nest under the seat of my bass boat.

            A rather sad commentary happened with our bluebirds. I have a box mounted on a pole out front and I was pleased to note that bluebirds began building a nest. Soon there were four pretty blue eggs in the box. I would periodically check to see if the eggs had started to hatch and became worried after several weeks when there were no baby birds in the box and it appeared they had been abandoned.

            There is a feral housecat that hung around the yard and I assumed that perhaps the cat had caught the female bluebird, so it was with a bit of regret that I removed the nest and abandoned eggs. Within a week, bluebirds began constructing another nest and soon, there were four eggs. I was relieved that finally I’d have a clutch of baby bluebirds to watch out for.

            I was pleased to see that one of the eggs hatched and I kept an eye out for the others to follow suit. I walked out one morning to check on my birds and found the lone baby bird dead and the eggs missing. What happened? I have no idea except I know I won’t be watching four little bluebirds try their wings.

            I have spotted a new bird I had never seen around the back yard feeder. I thought at first I was looking at some species of miniature woodpecker because the little dark gray and white bird flew with the same undulating up and down way a woodpecker flies. When it lit on the trunk of a backyard oak, it scooted up the trunk just like a woodpecker. Checking my bird book, I learned I was looking at a white breasted nuthatch, a bird I had never seen. So far I have not been able to get a photo of the bird but I’m not giving up just yet because I’ve seen it several times

            This blasted coronavirus has curtailed so much of what we’ve been able to do but at least I have my back porch, my bird book, binoculars, camera and coffee to keep me occupied.  

The white breasted nuthatch is a new visitor to this writer’s yard

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