|Ann Geddes photography.|
My local college students were tweeting constantly, even between classes. They had fun, fun, fun, til their teacher took their smart-phones away.
Birds invented social networking, which is probably why the software designers picked the name - Twitter - and used the name tweet for the messages.
If the Creator had not designed birds to communicate food and water sources, only the intrepid would live and thrive. All the birds I see in the yard announce the presence of food by discussing it in the trees and bushes.
|We grow strawberries, wild strawberries, blueberries, elderberries, beautyberries,|
blackberries, and raspberries.
In Midland I had one area where I put as much organic matter as possible in the soil, as suggested by one organic article. As predicted, that little plot was alive with earthworms. Every time I worked in that soil, the birds in a large tree began chortling with pleasure.
Midland is also where I bought garbage bags of excess popped corn from an event, and scattered it on the snow. Doves stayed in the bushes and began reacting as soon as I entered the garage and came out with their breakfast.
Humans try to keep secrets. One man spent 40 years looking for the Lost Dutchman Goldmine, outside of Phoenix. He would not tell anyone where he had looked, as if that would give away where it might be - not that he knew.
I have heard people say they knew where a large stretch of wildflowers were in bloom - but that was kept a secret.
Charles Dickens argued in one novel that the best way to create a large group was to announce membership being a big secret. Only then would people join.
But birds announce food by making a big racket, and they splash in their community pool like little kids. This noise has a blessed effect on the yard and garden. Many birds pair up and occupy one area. Cardinals are a good example of pairing. Others - sparrows, starlings, grackles - arrive in flocks and depart in flocks. Together they take turns eating.
The squirrels take their food first, although the starlings will fuss with them at times, such as having seed in a desk drawer. The squirrel pops out to drive the starling away for a time. Scattering the food gives more creatures a chance to eat at the same time.
The eating and noise also communicate the weather. When the rain is coming and when the rain is going to continue, the birds eat ahead, even in the rain. When fair weather is expected, I can put berries out in the afternoon and no one bothers to get most of them.
Birds like the sound of water dripping. I once had a darkroom bottle I could set to drip slowly into a water dish. A leaking bucket will also serve. Lacking those, a soaker hose on a fence will drip seductively, and the presence of many birdbaths will make stopovers a habit. "There is always water and suet at the Jackson Rose Farm," they tweet.
I wonder about - but do not condemn - the gardeners who stop feeding birds in the summer. They reason that the birds have plenty to eat, which is quite true. I use 5 to 7 pounds of suet as the mainstay, because the suet eating birds are insect eaters. When other gardeners spotted June bugs - aka Japanese beetles - I had starlings and grackles instead. Those noisy cousins are great bug and grub eaters.
Nota bene - birds are not dependent upon human food, but we are dependent upon them. I like having a supply of food because flocks come through when migrating, and more birds can settle in the neighborhood. As one bird magazine observed, bird food is most important when their food is scarce, especially after a sleet storm covers the bugs in the bark supply. Extra food means more calories to shrug off winter.
|Logs resting on soil = shelter, perches, and food.|
We built the rustic fence in about 30 minutes, using the dead tree, so the birds would have a place to perch, the tree would feed the soil creatures, and the toads would have shelter. Now that I know more about beetles, the infantry of beneficial insects, a static shelter is perfect as a base for resting and breeding. They often work at night.