Today is day eleven of the Covid-19 virus isolation. It’s a good bet you have already explored some of the hundreds of ways to spend your time– at home with movies, cleaning, reading, painting. Cabin fever makes wandering outdoors a necessary break.
Just wander. Many of us have that kind of time now.
Wild animals, of course, have gone on with business as usual, foraging for dinner, making babies and whatever else they do. Some experts suggest stopping the regular bird feeder fillups in spring. It makes birds dependent on feeders, instead of searching for natural foods, they say.
Maybe. Still, I like to see my feathered buddies, some of which have flown from central America to see my feeder– and for me to see them.
I’m not about to have them waste their fly time, finding an empty feeder once here.
One more way to spend your time indoors is to watch the feeder and discover new arrivals, some that stop for a quick snack before heading farther north. We spot grosbeaks, towhees, thrushes, and thrashers for a day or two, and then they’re gone until their trip south in the fall.
Offer a smorgasbord of feeder food, including black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, peanut hearts, nyjer seeds, peanut butter, safflower, mealworms, raisins, grape jelly, suet, and uncooked oats. Cover all the menu options.
Whichever bird visits the feeder, you’ll have your favorites. Some are show stoppers.
The big, glossy iridescent common grackle, with its stark white eye, looks like a creature from a horror show. The colorful and loud blue jay lets the crowd know it is incoming, and everyone scatters. Both the grackle and blue jay are bullies, but they are beautiful bullies. Woodpeckers, like the downy, hairy, red-bellied and flicker, seem to mind their business, just eating and quickly leaving. Bright red male cardinals and the quietly colored females brighten the place.
Despite its size, the tiny wren will wake you up in the morning with its loud song. And, apparently afraid of nothing, it’ll bluff its way to whatever it wants on the feeder. Chickadees are known to land on peoples’ fingers. Nuthatches, another small bird, are fun to watch as they scramble DOWN the tree. The titmouse, with its cardinal-like head crest, enjoys insects but won’t turn down seeds and berries.
Some robins stick around all winter, but in spring, they are especially welcomed as a signal that winter might be waning. They, as well as the catbirds that arrive later, love raisins.
Starlings, as well as the grackles, will eat anything. You might find ways to keep squirrels away from the feeder, but starlings are another story.
Whatever your taste is, be safe and take the time to enjoy it. Maybe try something entirely new and different. Many of us have that kind of time.