Friday, January 8, 2010

We are all different

While most of the country is in the grips of what the weather folks are calling an "arctic blast", I am feeding feeding feeding. Birds, goats, cats, dogs...everybody is so hungry due to the cold.

I'll not lie and pretend it is a grueling task, I am happy that I can help out.

Also, I have learned something recently that I thought I'd share. I know you all wait with bated breath in anticipation of the next great lesson I will bestow upon the masses.

If you didn't know, I love birds. I love to watch them, feed them, and photograph them. I picture myself as one of those "bird ladies" in tattered rags with birds perched upon my head and shoulders, just waiting for me to feed them. Learning their antics and peculiarities is among one of my favorite things. You wouldn't think there would be that much to learn about birds but there are approximately 10,000 different species of birds world wide and they are each unique and special. My backyard brood is small, less than 10,000, but I can only absorb a small amount of information at a time.

Other birders have given me some insight into my own observations recently. For one thing, I have had very few cardinals this year. I don't know where they are but I am really worried about this.

There have been about 4 blue jays attending meals and boy are they cantankerous. They are so beautiful but they scare off all the other little birds and gobble up lots of seeds. As I was watching them I noticed that they were eating sunflower seeds, shells and all! They would ingest about 5 of them and fly away. So as I was discussing this with an elderly gentleman at church, another bird-watcher, he explained to me that the blue jay has a strait bill and cannot crack the shells with his beak but must hold them in his feet and peck the thing open. He was simply filling his beak, taking his bundle to the trees and leisurely pecking them open.
It made me feel a little more sympathetic towards the blue jay. While Mr. Cardinal is graced with that splendid sharp/crooked bill that so easily shucks sunflower seeds, Mr. Jay bird must peck his seed apart.
peck peck peck
He is quite magnificent, I must say.
So is Mr. Cardinal. I don't think that he considers himself better because he can shell his seeds so easily. He may look proud but I find him humble and sweet.
As I do Mrs. Cardinal. Even with her muted colors, she is so splendid and graceful.
...aaaannnd I think she sees me!
And then you have these guys. They come in droves but certainly add a little life to the party.

This bird watching has much to teach, yes indeed.

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