Birds of a Feather

The birds were a riot today! Maybe because I restocked the feeders. Maybe because they heard that January is finally going to be January-like and not spring-like! I suspect they are fattening up, also predicting the snow and cold for the coming days.

My backyard fish however, are totally confused by this string of 50 degree days. They were all up visiting with me at the top of the pond  looking for some food. They don’t realize that they are supposed to be hibernating, and hiding under the rocks and NOT eating. Regardless, they all came to gather at my feet this afternoon with those big fishy eyes looking to be fed. It was a little weird, because they’re moving in slow motion, like, remember the six million dollar man? Like that. Their bodies are half-hibernating, half waking and thus the strange effect. It was hard to hold myself back, but I didn’t feed them. Since the temperature is finally dropping below freezing tomorrow, their fish stomachs would not digest the food and that only spells trouble down the road.

What I love about the birds – and the squirrels – they all hangout together regardless of race, religion, sex, or social class. There were two red-headed woodpeckers, a few cardinals, and a bunch of sparrows all crowded together feeding away. A lone robin was watching from the tree above. His rufous breast, absolutely spectacular in color this time of year. I suspect he was off exploring. His flock usually hangs out at the golf course. But he was the only one venturing out today. There were also two female red-winged black birds. Make no mistake however, the females are neither black, nor red-winged. Lots of streaky speckled browns instead. At first I wasn’t sure what they were. Those tricksters. I had to pull out the bird book to double check.  Also, as I was watching, it almost felt like the robin, the woodpeckers, and the girl blackbirds were traveling together this morning. Curious!

The squirrels are no nonsense. Working away nonstop on the ground eating, eating, eating. I have to admit, I love that the baffle baffles them, and get a kick every time one tries to climb the feeder poll and can’t get around it. Silly squirrel. You are NOT getting into that feeder!  I feel so empowered with my baffles! That’s an aside though. What is so cool, I was watching for 15 minutes straight, with binoculars and without, the sparrows and the junkos and the cardinals and the squirrels are all pretty nice to each other. They tolerate and/or ignore, the existence of the others. I know I’ve noted it before, but it’s telling. They hangout together, or they wait their turn. And as we’ve talked about – the only fly in the ointment is that darned hungry hawk…

And then came all the finches. I love that the house finches, and the purple finches, and the goldfinches are one big happy family.  Kind of hard to tell the purple finches from the house finches, and then I wonder if the gold finches notice that they are a different color all together?

And so. The birds not only kept me company and entertained me this morning, they also reassured me, that for the most part, we can all get along.

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