|See the post below|
People have begun to complain about the onset of winter, but that only means the fun is beginning. Birds and squirrels are the stars, providing endless entertainment as they search for extra food.
Yesterday I went out to toss seed across the corn and vegetable patches (covered with shredded cypress mulch on top of newspaper). I hear a jay cry out each time I step outside. Usually the birds leave the ground and wait for the new seed. I saw one bird stay on the ground, not flinching as I tossed seed toward him. He was at ground zero for the sunflower seed shower.
Birds feeding in the rain tell me that the rain is going to last. They risk getting cold because they need the food calories to stay warm for a steady drizzle. The rain continued on and off all day as the temperature dropped.
The phrase "a bird feeder" puzzles me. That is like getting one special toy, giving it to a group of children, and saying, "Play nicely with this." A single bird feeder only allows a few birds at a time. They will rotate and take turns, but this limits the size of the bird party. I have:
- Four suet bags hanging.
- Two bird baths with fresh water in them.
- Two ground areas for sunflower seeds.
- One squirrel feeder.
- One bird feeder.
- A rose garden in front for older berries and grapes.
- Long stretches of mulch along the backyard fence.
I will add suet bags in the front yard but not much on the ground for birds. Our neighborhood cats stay warm and dry under the limo in the driveway, then pounce on birds. Sometimes a cat will appear frozen in the garden, waiting for a bird to think he is a rose.
Grapes have to land in the front yard because dogs should not eat them. Sassy thinks food in the backyard is hers. She gives me accusing looks if I toss a bread product in the back. She has been known to bring in food (wasted on the birds) to enjoy for herself.
Recently I have seen vultures on the ground, enjoying road kill, when I was driving in the boonies on the way to college. Mrs. Ichabod and I saw a hawk taking a bath in the rain gauge puddle across Scott Street. Instead of fleeing as the Ichaboat approached, the hawk looked casually at us and flew to the nearby fence, to continue its bath after we passed. I have never seen vultures or hawks so close before.
When I botch making the coffee, as I did Saturday, the notion of all these creatures working together, above and below ground--without design, without a Creator--baffles me. Making coffee involves simple operations -
- filling the tank with water,
- placing an empty (empty is the key) thermo carafe under the spout,
- putting the right amount of grounds in,
- plugging in the coffee maker,
- and making sure the on button is in fact on.