This February we hung two bird feeders outside our kitchen table window. The feeders, one star-shaped made of safflower seeds and one typical feeder with two little perches, hung under the eaves and over the deck. During the winter while we ate breakfast or supper, we enjoyed our Chickadee TV.
The little black-capped chickadees were the first birds to find the feeder. They swooped in from the trees towards the window and landed lightly upon the perch. While the house finches that discovered the feeders later would lounge at the perch, crunching seed after seed, chickadees don’t linger. Instead they grab a seed and fly off to the crabapple trees to munch while other chickadees fly in for their turn.
A pair of cardinals, downy woodpeckers and nuthatches continue to frequent the feeders, especially after we added a larger feeder that the bigger birds could land on. Blue jays, red-bellied woodpeckers, and house finches continue to bring us to the windows to ooh and ahh.
In the spring, the kids delighted in identifying new visitors to the feeder: migrating warblers and white-throated sparrows. Recently this fall, juncos joined the bird feeder jamboree.
The feeders of course brought squirrels. Gray ones, red ones, baby ones, ones who climbed the roof to sit atop or in the feeder to feast. Young red squirrels dashed across the deck to grab fallen seeds then rushed back to munch the seeds in the shade of our potted tomato plants. Only occasionally burying those seeds in the pots.
One red squirrel and I maintained eye contact through the window. Neither of us moving; not frozen, fearful non-movement, but respectful stillness just watching each other. This stillness I learned at a young age outside with my mom and sister and Pelican Lake. This stillness I nurture in my own children. This stillness that I have no idea how to nurture other than taking my kids outside and being around wildlife.
One day, Alex sprinkled seed on the deck ledge. Then he sat outside still and quiet waiting for the birds to arrive.