Sunday, December 12, 2010
So today I woke up to one of the rare but woundrous events people in the South either love or dread - snow! I'm a lover, not a dreader. I just LOVE snow! Its so beautiful and peaceful and, well, snowy! Down here its really pretty when it sticks to things, as all the tree branches get coated just like they had frosting on them. Its a different effect than snow on evergreens, which we have much fewer of. Oaks and Hickories rule here. But one thing about snow is that it makes it really hard for the birds to find food. Most of the time the ground is bare and they can scratch around for seeds and nuts all day long, but a heavy snow like we're getting today covers all that up. First thing this morning I made sure the feeder was well stocked, then I took some time to watch my little bird friends come to dinner. And come they did! It looked like lunch time at the McDonalds drive thru! Birds were lined up by the dozens on tree branches and bushes just waiting for a turn at the feeder.
Now here's what I oberved at the feeder today. Birds have different behaviors and interactions that kind of reminded me of people. Tiny ones, like Gold Finches, Titmice, and Chickadees are relatively well mannered. They zip in, get a seed, and then fly off to a tree branch somewhere to crack the seed and eat it - allowing other birds a turn for their share. They're neat eaters. Sparrows, on the other hand, are like pigs at a trough. They fly in and perch on the feeder and park themselves as they gobble up seed after seed. They attack anyone else who gets near them and hog the whole feeder til they're good and done. Cardinals - the biggest and showiest of the birds, are a park-and-munch kind of bird as well, although much more tolerant of other birds who want a share. Even so, the Cardinal usually gets the feeder to himself, perhaps with a few lightning dashes in-and-out by Chickadees and Titmice for a seed or two. Woodpeckers are completely different. Like Chickadees they take a single seed and then fly off to eat it, but for some strange reason they can't just take any ole seed from the feeder. It has to be just the RIGHT one, and they fling seeds everywhere digging through the tray trying to find that certain one with their name on it! The other birds love this, of course, but it infurates the tar out of me.
Posted by Neal at 4:38 PM