Monday, October 8, 2007

The changing of the birds

Even with the wacky, unusually warm temperatures we’ve been experiencing of late, the birds that frequent our little feeder and birdbath are not fooled. They know what’s up, and they're moving—out, or in.

First, the tiny hummingbirds showed up less and less frequently, until I realized it had been several days since I’d seen any sipping nectar from the feeder. That was an exceptionally sad day for me, since they’re my favorite. I know, how trite—they’re everyone’s favorite. But I can’t help myself; they’re just such petite, delicate little things, and so fast; watching them move is like watching a bejeweled bauble come to life.

Then, I noticed all of a sudden that I hadn’t seen a robin for weeks. And there was a noticeable paucity of any little wrens, not that we’d had many to begin with. And then, last week, I saw a chickadee at the finch feeder. A chickadee! I hadn’t ever seen one of those before, not here.

The finches have remained somewhat constant, but even they are beginning to diminish in numbers. I miss their lively gold heads and sweet songs. The little red-headed house finches are disappearing, too. Do they fly south? Or are they simply moving to proven, more secure winter dwellings?

It’s fascinating to watch them all, far better than any reality show. The kid and I sit transfixed for many minutes as the colorful little birds jockey for position on the feeder, or wait their turn to drink at the birdbath.

The only birds who’ve stayed through every season thus far are the crows. They haven’t budged, the loud, annoying things. Their big inky bodies dot the lawn in the morning, and their insolent, shrill caws break into my thoughts. I always open the back door and clap my hands to get them to leave; it works, in that they fly from the yard, but then they perch in the neighbor’s tall oak tree, waiting for my guard to drop so they can return without being bothered. I can’t stand them.

Goodbye, summer—I fear you are truly making your exit this time. See you next year.


Anonymous said...

You should def leave your feeder up all winter, you will get different birds, chickadees and blue jays and cardinals. They get hungry too.

Maybe you didnt realize this but you are supposed to stop feeding the hummingbirds in September so they dont stay by accident...luckily yours seem to have all flown the coop...

If you need some birds to watch, might I suggest chickens? ;)

Mel said...

Don't worry, anonlaur, I was planning to keep the feeder up and add another with the oily black sunflower mix that the winter birds like. That's why it's called the "changing" of the birds.

This was the first year I've fed hummers--so thanks--next year I'll take it down a bit earlier. Is there a date? I did take it down in September, but it was late in the month...

And no, I will pass on the chickens--if I have a yearning, I know where I can find the stupid ol' things. ; )