Sunday, March 11, 2012


Common Redpolls & Pine Siskin

First of all, my birds are fiercely "Independent." They are not "left" or "right winged"... if they were, they could not fly.

Maybe politicians, there is a lesson here.

My birds survive hawks, shrikes, blizzards and below zero temperatures. They are even tempered (except for a few of my Red-breasted Nuthatches); they are for the most part model parents. Their mentoring skills are off the charts and their loyalty is unwavering.

Black-capped Chickadee

Thievery is not tolerated. I once had a White-breasted Nuthatch that would follow me, my little flock of chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches in the forest. The White-breasted Nuthatch would never come to my hand for seeds, but follow the Red-breasted Nuthatch. When the RBN would take the seed out of my hand, he would fly to a tree and pound the seed into a bark crevice. He then would take a piece of lichen and cover the seed to hide it... then fly back to my hand and start his routine again. In the meantime, the WBN would find the stored seed in the tree bark and "pry & pilfer." She was a scoundrel of major proportions. These antics went on for a few days, but soon were stifled. Mr. RBN caught her in the act and would not tolerate the continued theft of his hard earned seed. He chased her though the brush and trees like an out of control fighter pilot... eventually out of sight. I hated to see her go, the WBN is a fairly rare bird on my ridge... but the "law of the jungle" is swift and just.

Common Redpoll

Neighborhood Watch. My birds depend on each other. When a predator invades, they warn each other by incessant, robotic chirping. Much like a flock of crows driving an owl insane, but without the brash, winged attack. My birds are aware until the danger is passed.

Pine Siskins

Well mannered. My birds, especially the Black-capped Chickadees respect their elders. When they fly to my hand in the forest, they wait their turn. Mom and dad will feed the fledglings seeds until they feel it is right for the "kids" to take seeds out of my hand. The children invariably wait for mom and dad to eat first.

Common Redpoll

Grace. One of the definitions of grace is beauty in motion, form or action. A term that is endearing and understood by the avid birder and nature lover. I think because of this definition, many humans desire to care for and feed birds... they enjoy birds presence and beauty. I also believe that part of the biblical definition of grace also holds true here. Grace means free gift... and I, like the "Wizard of Oz" am the man behind the curtain, distributing seeds by grace as a free gift.

Pine Siskin

Black-capped Chickadee

Now, if my little Red-breasted Nuthatch could understand that "forgiveness is also a free gift." He would pass along a little "grace" to the White-breasted Nuthatch and welcome her back to the ridge.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

"Grace means accepting the abandoned one." Yrjo Kallinen