Stay or Leave?

You may think the above is a strange title for my blog this week, but it isn’t? Here’s why. After a few months stay in beautiful Florida. It was difficult for me to get excited about returning to Northeastern PA. But the birds were beginning their trek back home and I did need to get ready for them. They would make it without me, but all I could think of was who was going to clean out the bird houses. That’s my job, so we didn’t stay.

I’ll never forget the time I opened the roof of one of the bird

 Shirl examines the wren house.

houses in our yard and felt a bird nest inside. I grabbed it and with all the twigs, feathers and grass came several tiny baby field mice. I dropped them in a hurry and watched them  scatter away. Needless to say I wear gloves now. All it took was a human hand to make these mice decide to leave. (Actually they didn’t have much choice.)

The most abundant visitor to our yard is the American Goldfinch. Very soon after their return here, I hang a tube feeder just outside our sliding doors.This is my way of getting them to stay.Their appetite is a rich one. They love nyjer seed, the most expensive. I have been tempted to sweep up the quantity of seed that drops on the steps beneath the feeder, but I read recently that what remains is only the shell.To check this out we even looked at some of the seed under a microscope, but we couldn’t tell if the tiny insides had been removed.  Sometimes the American finches bring their cousins with them, the Pine Siskins and the Red Polls. What a fun time they have when, all nearly-thirty of them try to fit on twelve perches. I’m told that they nest in trees and I know they choose the ones nearby because our yard sounds like a bird sanctuary. They stay here all summer.

There’s none prettier than the Eastern Bluebird. Every year we watch them going through the ritual of choosing a home. One of our bluebird houses is just 30 feet from our door, but the last two years they have chosen a bird house that doesn’t sit within viewing distance.

We do have a Purple Martin house, with its many apartments, in our yard. But as far as we know we haven’t attracted any of this species. Several summers we did have Tree Swallows stay.They are the most beautiful flyers, as they soar through the air catching bugs. Each morning two of them sat right outside our porch door, waiting to greet us. They were quickly becoming our favorites however, they don’t always come and spend their summer with us.

My bird adventures wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Carolina Wren. They come back every year, and the male bird begins house-hunting. Mrs. Wren must be very choosy because he fills every nook and cranny with sticks, so she has a number of places to choose from. I’ve come to recognize their song, especially the raspy buzz when I get too close to their domain.

We used to try to keep sparrows out of our blue bird houses, until someone said to put up two houses, ten feet apart. That way there would be one house for the sparrows and one for the bluebirds.That didn’t work! Usually one of them stands vacant and a sparrow takes up residence in the other. We love seeing the Red Winged Blackbirds come to the feeder and the Titmouse, Purple Finches, Nuthatches, Chickadees,Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Cardinals, and yes, even the Doves. I’d love to see more Yellow Grosbeaks. A big flock of them flew in one summer and cleaned out the feeder in a few minutes. There is one species of birds we’d  like  to see leave our yard permanently. When a flock of them come flying in, our response is “Oh no, here comes the Starlings.” It is said that they were brought over here from Europe. Is there anyone who could take them back?

Now that you’ve read this far, you know why the headline fits, some birds come and some go. Some of them stay and some leave. Regardless, happy birding is wished for you as you enjoy God’s wonderful creation!

10 thoughts on “Stay or Leave?

  1. HI SHIRL..ENJOYED HEARING A BOUT ALL YOUR BIRDS ,, OUT HERE IN AZ I ONLY SEE PIGEONS AND QUAIL ALL OVER THE PLACE HERE IN THE COMPLEX WHERE I LIVE..MISS SEEING THE PRETTY YELLOW AND BLUE BIRDS AND ALSO TH ROBINS BUT I DO HAVE LITTLE HUIMMING BIRDS THAT COME TO MY PATIO AND FEED OFF MY FLOWERS..THEY ARE AMAZING TO WATCH.. WISH I WAS THEIR TO SEE YOUR BIRDS.. LOVE ADA MAE

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    • Hi Ada: I’m glad you have hummingbirds to watch. I’m guessing most of your birds are staying in air conditioned trees. Lots of birds here provide us with much entertainment.

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  2. Birds are truly one of God’s most amazing and beautiful creatures! He must really love them, and be very pleased with his birds, because he has created such a large variety of them! They come in such a variety of shapes and colors. Some of them a very tiny like the hummingbird, and some are so large like the albatross. Then there are the smart ones (parrots); and these are the ones that I adore the most!!! Actually I love all birds. I feed the birds in my backyard year round. The thistle feeders do work great for attracting the gold finches. Many of our gold finches stay year round, but their plummage looks very different (dull) during the winter months. We have found mice in our bird houses, too, during clean outs. However, it is my husband who does that job. One time he removed a nest of mice and put them into the woods, only to find a nest of mice inside of his work boots (left on the porch) on the following morning! He sure pulled his foot out of the boot rather quickly and was surprised when he dumped it over to find the mice family inside!!!! We wondered if they were the same ones or not.They were determined to find another warm house to live in. LOL I have lots of bird stories that I could talk about. Many of them revolve around my husband’s job and bringing home injured birds that needed rehabilitation, including a red tailed hawk. Speaking of red tailed hawks, my African Gray had (what he would certainly considered to be) a close encounter with one of them. My story is a tale about a wild bird and a (pet) bird. Rocket (my Congo African Gray) was perched near our sliding glass door; and I was sitting near him, eating breakfast at the table. Suddenly he let out a loud screech like nothing I had ever heard before. He dove off of his perch and onto the kitchen table, scrambling up my arm and to the safety of my shoulder. He was shaking, and his body was pressed tightly against the side of my head. A moment later, a red tailed hawk landed on the porch rail (about 2 feet from where Rocket had just been perched). Of course, Rocket was never in any danger, but he didn’t know that. Since that day, he refuses to use that perch (even when it has been moved elsewhere). I felt bad for the terror that Rocket must have felt, but it certainly was amazing to see this interaction between these two very different birds, up close and personal!!! One might say it was a demonstration of “the hunter and the hunted”. So that is my bird story. Birds are amazingly intellligent and beautiful creatures; and I am lucky to be sharing my life with 6 of them…..four parrots and 2 zebra finches. Thank you for your most interesting blog about birds. I sure enjoyed reading it!! 🙂

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    • I certainly hit on the right subject for you, Colleen. You and your husband are true bird lovers, even to the point of rescuing and nursing the injured. I love your story, I hope everyone reads it.

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  3. Really enjoyed your blog on birds!! They truly are one of Gods beautiful creatures, Ada Mae, while in Az this winter all I saw were Quails everywhere.

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    • Quail in Arizona. Well, Jean, both you and Ada said they are plentiful there. That’s news to me, I don’t think Quail would be very colorful, at least not the ones in PA. Thanks for writing, Jean.

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  4. I love birdwatching…!! When in Arizona I woke each morning to a woodpecker similair to our Yellow Shafted Flicker…I would also follow the Quail…they are beautiful…!! Many of the birds you mentioned also visit my feeder…adding to your list…Pine Grosbecks…Mellowlark…and a White Robin ( I had no idea there was such a bird )…but we do have a great deal of pinebald animals ( they are not albino ) but similair and very beautiful…!!

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    • Hi Karen: It’s easy to see you are a bird watcher. I’m sure God gave them to us to enjoy watching. Sounds like you really know your birds and that there is more than quail in Arizona. Thanks for writing. Hope you continue to enjoy shirlandyou.

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