One of my favorite pastimes is feeding birds. I have had bird feeders close to my windows since I was a young boy, and I never tire of watching them gather around a feeder, flitting about to get the best position or to carry a seed to a nearby tree to eat in a more secure location. I am no bird specialist and can only identify the most common species that inhabit or pass through my part of the world. I don’t know their calls or that much about their habitats or characteristics. I am not a birder as such and have never gone out of my way to search for particular species. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve used a set of field glasses or binoculars to look at them. I simply enjoy watching them around my house and feel good about providing them food, water, and shelter, especially during the colder months. Their colors, designs, sounds, and antics fascinate me.
One of my favorite species that graced our feeders about this time last year are the Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks. They have that stark contrast of red, white, and black that you often find in some woodpeckers, but these are more like finches and frequent the feeders in the spring on their way to or from their nesting areas. I was able to peer at them through one of the doors that leads out to our deck where the feeder is hanging.
In the open feeders, I use safflower seed exclusively because the squirrels don’t like it and won’t take over the feeders as they do with sunflower seed. I also have a suet-cake feeder attached to a tree in front of the house. It is one of those feeders that is caged to allow only small birds in and keeps out larger birds, squirrels, possums, and raccoons. I don’t have anything particularly against the furry critters, but I am partial to the birds, and I have a soft spot for the small ones too. There’s something so magical to me about these little creatures, graced with the exceptional gift of flight, and clothed in so much beauty.