Squirl's Nest

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The bird is the word

Ern is one of the birders out here in blogland. She posted about what the turning point was for her when she decided she was hooked on birding. Then she asked if any of us would like to tell our stories. Well, here's mine.

About twenty years ago I was living in a house that was tiny. The yard, though, was fantastic. The guy who used to own it had a plant nursery. It was an area that used to be covered in water so the ground was beautiful black muck. Plants grew better there than any place I've ever seen.

There were holly bushes on either side of a side living room window. In the front yard, visible from the picture window, was a beautiful old birch tree. Even though there were many, many plants in this yard, these are most pertinent to this story.

At Christmas time, there was snow on the hollies. When I looked out there was a male Cardinal sitting in the snow. The red against the white of the snow and the green of the holly bushes was so striking that it was breathtaking.

Then, in the spring, I was looking at the birdfeeder in the birch tree. It was around sunset so the sun was coming in on a direct horizontal line. In the feeder were a male Cardinal and a male Indigo Bunting, against the white birch. The sun made them dazzle.

Those sightings were enough to hook me for life. I could mention the funny antics, the bizarre mating rituals, the graceful soaring of the beautiful birds I've been lucky enough to sight. I could tell about the time I saw an American Bald Eagle right on the other side of the street from me. But to say when I first became enamored would have to be from when I lived in that little house on the muck farm.


Blogger marybishop said...

I love my birds too...my feeder is always filled --and my suet feeder too.

I am always so anxious to get up in the morning to get my coffee and stare at the window with the feeder -- sometimes I beat the birds and see the first few who come to dine...

Most are homely varieties, but my suet feeder gets woodpeckers and they are so funny to watch...(I think they all suffer from bad balance..)

Just noticed tonight that you commented on a flag post I wrote a while ago...sorry I never got notice that post was still living...I love my birds

Tue Jul 19, 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Hi, Marybishop, welcome to my site. I'm glad you're into birds, too. Woodpeckers are really a hoot. I get to see blue herons on a fairly regular basis, starting in the spring. They're so graceful and pretty but kinda funny looking sometimes in the water. Susie had mentioned your flag post and, after reading it, I felt compelled to comment.

Tue Jul 19, 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Wait, MaryBishop - you sometimes beat the birds?


What did the birds ever do to you?

Tue Jul 19, 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Ern said...

Hi Squirl! Love your story. I am continually amazed by the variety of dazzling colors in bird world. It keeps me coming back for more.

Oh, and thanks a lot. I'm going to have Pee-Wee Herman stuck in my head for the rest of the day!

Tue Jul 19, 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

That is so cool. I live in an urban centre but we have an eagle couple who fly over the bay. I love to watch them soar. Then the crows come and chase them off. Ballsy little shits.

Tue Jul 19, 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

My fear of birdies prevents me from commenting on this post.

Wed Jul 20, 06:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Danielle said...

fear of birdies?

were you a cat in another life Mr. Bloggerific himself?

I say this, because while cats may love to hunt birds, they are also extremely worried about getting pecked by them and will hide underneath things so that they can't be attacked from above...

... even when the 'attacking bird' is only the ceiling fan.

Wed Jul 20, 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Effie said...

That would have been a sight to see-- both a cardinal and an indigo bunting together in the sun...beautiful!

Wed Jul 20, 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Bucky, you didn't know that the birds in Mary Bishop's yard are into S&M?

Ern, thanks for the inspiration to write this post. Sorry about the PeeWee Herman. :-)

Kranki, crows are really ballsy shits. But I've seen smaller birds giving crows their shit right back. Where I live now there are sparrows and mourning doves. We're downtown but not far from the river.

Mr B, it's okay, the birds won't get you. Don't pay attention to that stupid Hitchcock movie, it's okay.

Danielle, cats only pretend to be fierce. And I guess if you're the hunted they are. However, where else would we have gotten the word scaredy-cat?

Wed Jul 20, 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Effie, I must not have refreshed quickly enough. Yes, that was such a breath-taking site. That deep blue and bright red against the white tree in the sun. Absolutely beautiful.

Wed Jul 20, 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger SierraBella said...

We have a quail family we love to watch.
The male stands guard while the rest eat, and when it's his turn the females are so busy trying to keep the babies herded they're not really guarding his back.
We also have a resident owl which I've seen only occasionally.

Wed Jul 20, 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger August95 said...

Loved your story Squirl. I agree about the woodpeckers. We had one up at camp once that was trying to get bugs out of a metal flag pool. Gives me a headach just thinking about it.

Wed Jul 20, 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Sierrabella, a quail family and an owl. How cool. But nobody watches dad's back. Poor guy.

August95, one thing I have seen this year that I never saw before is the male Hairy Woodpecker feeding suet to the baby. It is sooo sweet. Then if you look at them with binoculars you can see how the suet is messy all over their beaks. Of course, that's the point. They want them lubricated for when they go after the bugs. It's just so funny-looking.

Wed Jul 20, 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

My parents always say that bird feed is the only thing they get their money's worth in enjoyment.

My husband is sure that we watch our bird feeder more than our TV.

It's hummingbird season now and they're always good entertainment. Pretty soon we'll have bald-headed baby Blue Jays at the feeder.

My favorite is my chickadees. I love their personality!

Oh God, I'm ranting! I'm not a bird-LOVER or anything... no...un-huh... not me.

Wed Jul 20, 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger laurenbove said...

I've loved birds since my grandmother and I would sit at the kitchen table and watch the display before us as she had coffee and I had pancakes.

We kept a copy of a guide to N.E. birds on the table and would exitedly look up any newcomer we could not aleady name. What a beautiful thing it is to love birds.

My neighbor next door has now taken the bird feeder spot in my heart. She has about fifteen different feeders and some are HUGE! I always get a spectacular show thanks to her.

Wed Jul 20, 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

tshsmom, I love the chickadees, too. Pretty bold for such little birds. Birds are much more entertaining than TV.

Lauren, welcome! Always glad to meet another birder. And everyone should go to her site to see how the eyes of a mourning dove are just like the eyes of the Runaway Bride. It's worth quite a few chuckles!

Wed Jul 20, 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kitty said...

chickens? yard chickens? red chickens, blue chickens, bald chickens?

Too bad you didn't have OBB cam back then. I would have loved to seen the muck yard and yard chix!!!

Wed Jul 20, 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Nilbo said...

So Marybishop beats the birds, what of it. I have choked my fair share of chickens.

Ern has PeeWee Herman stuck in her head, which ... well, there are worse places.

Our birdfeeder sits outside the family room window. All say it's a richness of finches, chickadees, and other visitors.

Our cats sit on the window sill all day and just stare helplessly. We call it Cat TV.

Wed Jul 20, 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger JessicaRabbit said...

I would luv the little birdies so much more if they could only learn not to poop on my car door.

(They can poop on my x husband all they want to though)

Wed Jul 20, 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Yes, Kitty, it was beautiful there. After I moved, the landlord ripped out all the plants, had all the muck taken out, put down sand and parks his big trucks there. So sad.

NIlbo, Cat TV, I love it. Watching birds is really cool. I've never beaten birds and don't have a chicken to choke, but I do like watching birds.

Jess, here's to birds seeing a big target on your ex's head all the time.

Thu Jul 21, 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

That was a very cool yard. I remember bonfire parties in the winter, and "Rico" peeing on the fire, you know, to help put it out after the party was done.

Now I know how Jess' ex gets that lovely frosted look to his remaining hair...

Thu Jul 21, 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger LadyBug said...

Nice post, Squirl. Those birds are beautiful.

I like it when bloggers talk about the things that interest them the most. You can't mask that passion. It always comes through in the writing.

Thanks for sharing this.

Thu Jul 21, 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Bucky, yes, that was a fantastic yard. I didn't remember Rico peeing out the last of the fire, hmmm. Let's hope Jess's ex continues to have his hair frosted.

Ladybug, so glad you're back. Thanks, yes I do love them.

Thu Jul 21, 06:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Fri Jul 29, 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger marybishop said...

So sorry I didn't get back here sooner to read the comments - hilarious..now and forever I'll be known as a bird beater..but as Nilbo alludes, better than being known as a chicken choker...well, maybe he actually didn't say that...

Bucky four eyes, look what you started!

Wed Aug 03, 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

MB, it's always Bucky's fault. We can count on that. :-)

Wed Aug 03, 08:01:00 PM  

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