winter feeding


For years we have been putting out seed for birds to feed upon in the winter. This year it was very mild into part of January then winter arrived and we have had some cold weather, down near to -20 Celsius.

Although it is seed for birds, a gang of black squirrels and one little red squirrel have been stopping by to grab some food as well. We used to see quite a few chipmunks running around the place but not so many in the past two years. I may be wrong but I think they lay up for the winter with their store of seed and other goodies of the chipmunk kind.

This year we don’t seem to have any sparrows around. Used to see a couple of varieties of them. Maybe they will turn up yet. So far it has been mainly mourning doves, chickadees, and nut hatches.

Less frequently in the past, we see blue jays and rarely a cardinal or two. That blue and that red are something to see against the snow. The special whirring sound of mourning doves taking flight is a real treat to hear.

This year the five wild kittens who we have adopted, all indoor cats except for Cadbury who tries to get outside with little success, have been spending less time watching TV and instead watch the live nature channel out the kitchen window. The bird feeder hangs from a branch stub about twenty feet from that window. I have set two old benches out closer to the window from that tree and I brush snow off them and spread seed there. I also clear off the deck railing and pour seed on it.

If I just refilled the feeder, one black squirrel would tie that up all day with his stunt feeding acrobatics. This morning I counted nine mourning doves feeding. Yesterday we set a local world record with seven black squirrels feeding at the same time.

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Author: William J. Gibson

62 year old - writer/photographer Canadian, survived open heart surgery, received kidney transplant, sometimes dour, sometimes amusing, over six feet in height, severely follicle challemged

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