This weekend was so sunny … and so warm … I caught an incredible dose of spring fever! We had our windows open – the birds were singing – the rooster from down the road was celebrating and I could even hear the sheep from the other side of the fairgrounds. I was looking for every reason possible to be outside. It seemed that all of the little critters in our yard felt the same way.
The Song Sparrows were really tuning up their ‘pipes’. I love listening to them at dusk. I could easily imagine that they were singing the sun to sleep… and me too! Remember when we were kids – and we’d have to go to bed while it was still light outside? I remember hearing the ‘big kids’ still playing out on Dumbarton Street in Guelph. Now I consider it a real treat to get to sleep while it is still light out! Ha!
One of my favourite birds in our yard are the Thrushes. They can rival Mockingbirds in their ability to mimic the songs of all of the other birds – plus some songs that don’t usually get sung here. They come each year in early spring … and make the woods seem like they are full of flocks of exotic singers. Then, while I’m searching for them all, out will pop the Thrush. I had to use my digital zoom on these last two … They’re not as clear but I think you get a good idea of what they look like.
I know some people don’t like the Grackles. I do. I think their shiny blue black feathers are stunning. Especially in the morning when the sun is just coming up over the hillside. They watch for me to bring the seeds around to the bird bar in the early morning. Then we visit ‘through the glass’ while I’m having breakfast. There ARE too many of them in April – but eventually they all spread out to the marshes down the road.
Our ‘mascot’ around here is the Blue Jay. We actually have a number of Jays here that we ‘know’ very well. They’ve been here winter – summer – spring – and fall for years. I’ve read that Jays can live 7 to 10 years in the wild. Each time I’ve had a ‘leave’ from work I’ve found I’ve made friends with a number of them. For a while we were aware of a Jay that had a wonky wing. I think our seeds and peanuts made a big difference to his health. My favourite over the years was ‘Beauty’. I don’t know if Beauty was a he or a she … That year we had too many Grackles and Blackbirds. The Jays were not able to get to the peanuts in the mornings. So, I sat out on an Adirondack chair beside the peanut table. I’d move when the Blackbirds landed – but stay put for the Jays. It didn’t take Beauty long to realize what I was doing. ‘She’ would drop down – pick up some peanuts – and then sit on the branch just above me to eat them. As that spring went by she then began to follow me around the yard when I was gardening – sitting on the trees nearby where I worked. I’d keep peanuts in my pocket and drop them on the grass or on the stumps nearby. Maybe when I’m retired I’ll meet another ‘Beauty’.
That year we also had Chickadees that liked to eat sunflower seeds out of our hands. That was a winter trend. Come the spring they were not so keen on being so close. We did a lot of skating on the flooded fields across the road. The Chickadees started to follow us over there. So I started to pack my pockets with shelled sunflower seeds to feed them while we skated through the marsh bushes. It was really neat.
This spring I wander with my camera mostly on the weekends – and dream of the days when I will be a retired ‘hermit’ enjoying the Meadow all day – all four seasons. I’ll be the eccentric aunt, Gramma, ‘old lady down the road’ who will likely be renamed ‘Doolittle’. That’s okay by me – ‘doing little’ will be my new motto! 😉