Thursday, December 26, 2013

Where Have All the Birdies Gone?

Amid some hectic times a few weeks ago, I neglected to restock my bird feeder for a few days. Truth to tell, I also was skittish about striving to clean the glass-encased feeder, which had become rather nasty. We were having a cold snap and turning the hose on to wash it wouldn't have been very effective. And it definitely could not be brought into the house for warm-water cleaning.

So a few days before Christmas, I bought a brand-new feeder -- fire-engine-red and shaped like a lantern; pretty as a postcard picture from the tropics. I stocked it with black-oil sunflower seed, and topped it with some other fine seed.

The new lantern/feeder: Birds Hate Red?
And for days no birdies showed up. Had they all become so irked at my lapse that they had relocated? Even my prized Northern Cardinals are nowhere to be seen.

Yesterday, I spotted just one solitary chickadee perched on the magic lantern. Today, there were a few more -- sparrows and (I believe) a grosbeak. Still, activity is way down from the norm. The perching area around around the lantern is narrower than the old glassy feeder; could it be that the birds have checked it out and deemed it unsuitable for medium to plus-sized feathered friends? Or maybe they hate the bright red?

To be honest, I wouldn't mind if the Mourning Doves stayed off the feeders, and contented themselves with gathering the seed that has fallen to the ground. They are as big as battleships, comparatively speaking, and there are a lot of them. They crowd out some of the smaller birds.

I suppose gradually the feeding will increase again. I sure hope it will recover before the start of the Great Backyard Bird Count on Saint Valentine's Day.

Solitary Chickadee

Meanwhile, the Day After Christmas was a good one for getting back into the exercise groove. Superdawg and I took a brisk walk on a wooded path she insisted on taking. (I wielded my walking stick menacingly in hopes of deterring any coyotes that might be lurking.) Later, I did a vigorous 5-mile  spin on the exercise bike at the newly renovated workout room. The bionic knee felt great. Hopefully, many good miles walking, pedaling, and swimming lie ahead in 2014.

Along with many birds to watch, viewed hopefully.

                                           © Robert G. Holland  2013

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