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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Winter Bird watching

Another cold but sunny day.   The  birds have been emptying out the bird feeders almost as quickly as I can refill them.  Agatha and Victoria enjoy sitting in the sun as it streams through the  storm door in the morning  and watching  the activity at the feeder. Sometimes they are joined by Patches, the cat, but she has gotten lazy in her old age and opts to sleep most of the time.  Patches is over 20, as near as we can tell- we've had her so long that we can't remember exactly how long she's lived with us!

Things get  loud when a cat or a squirrel wanders into view.  The dogs   take to   barking and running up and down the hall as though they expect the the squirrels and cats  to storm the barricades and launch an attack.  But this morning it was pretty quiet and peaceful and they  had only Carolina chickadees, sparrows,  house finches a tufted titmouse or two and a few cardinals to watch. Sometimes we have a more varied assortment of birds who  stop at the feeders. It may have something to do with the   seed mixes we buy and use.  This week  for instance, we've had more cardinals, but the bird seed we just bought has a lot more sunflower seeds in it than the previous mix, and the cardinals  do seem to love those sunflower seeds. When we  have  birdseed with a fair amount of cracked corn in it, we see a lot of mourning doves under the feeders.

For the last few years, come spring,  a house wren makes a nest in one of the hanging baskets in the greenhouse.  I'm anxious to see  whether that happens again this year.  It  wreaks havoc on the plants in the baskets, but  it is exciting to watch the parent birds fly in and out with materials to line the nest, then later  flitting in and out to  feed the babies when the eggs hatch, and finally  watching the  little ones stumble about on the   greenhouse benches as they learn to  fly before leaving  the nest and the  greenhouse for the last time.  I often wonder whether the little ones who hatched here are the ones who return to nest, but  have no idea.This is one of the little fledglings from last April.  Maybe he or she will come back for a visit this spring.  I hope so!

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