Snow birds

... discovering new bird feeders-Spring is in the air

by Debbi Collar

William Turner's proverbial wisdom, written as far back as 1545, "birds of a
feather flock together," apparently still applies in the case of Melrose Mirror
staff members.

Discussion during a recent staff meeting, centered on photos and written
articles of a variety of birds. Each one of us (Don, Betty, Shirley and myself)
found we were all writing about nature-mostly birds.
The following backyard bird feeder story kept winter doldrums away during
brief shoveling breaks.  It is a photographic display of backyard
characters and their behaviors.

The Birthday Bird Feeder

A birthday gift received from a cousin was a bird feeder, with enough
suet to attract a "variety of  wild birds," according to advertising on the suet
packages. The various species of  colorful, winged wildlife would soon earn
their way into the hearts of The Melrose Mirror readers.

As a writer/photographer, that was my plan.  

The birds though were not cooperating.

So much for my planned story with its photographic display.

Enjoying nature as it seems all of us at "The Melrose Mirror" do, it was time
to give that bird feeder and the accompanying  Suet Smorgasbord of high
energy snacks such as "Sunflower Sunsation" and "Nutty Berry" treats another

Soon the stark white snow would be a wonderful backdrop for those colorful
fledglings in flight visiting the new feeder, bringing thoughts of the
upcoming Spring season.

I hoped.

Learning how to identify the characteristics of those birds at the feeder, their
songs and writing about them would provide more material for the story.
Once again, I would have the occasion to be pried away from each blizzard's
shoveling duties.

Yet the only thing the bird feeder was attracting was a very aggravated, very
angry and very determined squirrel. Following flicks of its tail, It took him a
few days but he finally figured out how to get to the food. The bird feeder
had finally gained a visitor.

I was now gaining a story.

First visitor to the bird feeder was dubbed "squirrel-bird."

The squirrel's agility and determination would have made 1984 Gold Medal
Olympic Champion Mary Lou Retton (she also won two silver and two bronze
medals) proud as it learned maneuvers of how to hang upside down with is
tail on a tree branch, as it foraged for its suet of choice each day.

The squirrel also managed a few chin ups.

Backyard exercise

The "promised" backyard winged wildlife, as stated on each of the packets of
suet, did not appear at the feeder itself. Most would fly right past the suet
treats and pick up a few crumbs of bread from the ground that had been
thrown out to them earlier in the day.

Without my winged wildlife visiting the feeder, there would be no bird
portion of my "planned" story, no photos of birds.  

Then it happened. One brave bird decided to try out the feeder, now
complete with the addition of a green patio, a gardening kneepad.

Junco or Sparrow a.k.a."Brave Bird"
Bird identification is still a learning process for me.

Feathered friends

Then Don's pot bellied bluejay from Melrose or its relative, (see last month's
article on the pot bellied bluejay ) must have heard about the new feeder in
my town.

It stopped by.


then a cardinal  

and his wife

Camera always at the ready, I snapped the button and away the birds  
flew, but return they did, and they do,on a daily basis.

Back at the feeder was that first Brave Bird. Each of the birds would now have
its place in The Melrose Mirror. The photographic display portion of the story
would soon be developing, depending on my skills at quickly grabbing the
camera and snapping each bird's picture.


Each of the birds had apparently watched the squirrel's gymnastics as well.  
Word was out in the sky, that there was a new bird feeder in town and it was
not meant for squirrels, judging from their occasional bird vs. squirel
squabbles as to whose turn it is at the feeder.

Somehow despite their differences, the squirrels (now several) and birds have
figured out a "pecking order" (pardon the pun) in working out the times each
one has a turn eating at the feeder.

waiting patiently for a suet snack

The bird feeder has been a source of entertainment as the snow kept falling
last month.

Believe it or not, even an American Robin flew out of her nice warm tree for a

American Robin

Is it possible that Spring is really in the air?

"The proverb in the above story, has been in use since at least the mid
16th century. In 1545 William Turner used a version of it in his papist satire
The Rescuing of Romish Fox:

"Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together."

Information on the proverb attributed to Wikipedia.
information from Wikipediai

March 6, 2015

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