We, or maybe it’s I, have become bird feeders. This is not really a brand new thing. One of the first items I built when we moved to this property in 2005 was a bird feeder. It was hung in a big old maple tree just off the corner of our house. We hadn’t had one before because the house we lived in didn’t lend itself well to putting up a feeder. The trees were too far away from the house, and besides, we had all sorts of critters to take care of and watch in the barn. Here, the house is very near a cedar bush and the big tree provided a spot with great visibility from the dining room window.
But the tree was dying. In 2009 we cut it down and planted a couple of replacements which were really not strong enough to carry the feeder. For a while we hung the feeder off of a post I installed on the back deck, but, the seeds in bird feed are quite viable and make a big mess when they sprout and grow in the flower beds.
This year, the young tree is big enough and our feeder is very busy. We get all of the regular birds, juncos, sparrows and chickadees. A small finch feeder draws both gold and house finches, always in packs (or flocks) with up to fifteen birds hanging on the feeder at a time. We have a suet feeder that is mostly of interest to the chickadees but from time to time will attract a downy woodpecker.
The exciting change for this year is the cardinals. We have never had cardinals at our feeder before. In fact, I don’t think I had ever seen one in this area and we suddenly have two pairs. They seem really shy, at first anyway, and may have been put off by the feeder mounted on the deck, but now they actually work away at the suet feeder which is mounted to the underside of the porch roof right outside our window as well as making frequent trips to the bird feeder in the tree.
The wonderful thing about the cardinals is their colour, bright red in a black and white world. Its as if God was giving us a gift in the middle of our snowy, dull, February world; a bright bit of crimson to remind us the whole world would again burst with beauty. It’s as if colours of a season yet to come are anticipated in this beautiful bird; beauty both now and not yet.