Another cold gray morning. 6.6 degrees F and watching the birds from The Command Center (aka My Recliner). (Note: I wrote this entry this morning, then got busy.) I usually start the day with a cup of good strong cup of coffee, a book, and view of feeding birds. One of my neighbors gave me a homemade seed wreath for Christmas. I hung it up yesterday, and today, it has begun to attract birds. It take a few days (sometimes longer) for birds to find a new feeding station.
My feeders in front are situated so that I can see them from my favorite chair, and the birds have some cover from raptors should they need it. The other morning I saw half of what I thought was a blue jay sticking out of the dwarf Alberta spruce by the front steps where I have feeders. The spruce was full of gold finches and snow birds (juncos), and the bird I had mistook for a blue jay turned out to be a jay-sized raptor with a barred tail–a sharp-shinned hawk. They hunt birds and can fly their prey down through trees and brush. My husband opened the front door and the bird flew off.
The three-armed shepherd’s crook I hang most of feeders on was one I found at a garage sale for $5 a couple blocks from here on the edge of town. I asked the people why they were getting out of the bird feeding business, and they said that they were tired of hawks using it as their private buffet. I do get hawks at both the front and back feeding stations (and my chicken yard!), but there are enough evergreens and trees overhead to keep them from dominating.
Every once in a great while I’ll see a big red-tail hawk fly off with a mourning dove that was ground feeding on the patio or find a pile of feathers indicating a kill in the backyard lawn. We have some of the biggest trees in our part of the neighborhood, so the red tails will perch in our yard and scare all the little birds quiet and still. In the winter and early spring, I have witnessed our murder of crows driving one of the big hawks off. Their sentinel stations itself at the tip of our tallest spruce tree by the chicken coop. Crows can be really dreadful, but they do have their uses. Begonia