Feathered friends are a treat
Winter is the perfect time to feed the wild birds and the squirrels. My husband has done this for years. He puts up four or five feeders along with suet bars and hangs these in front of the windows. It is great entertainment for us to watch and our pup loves to watch as well.
When I go to the store, I will purchase several loaves of bread which he will hang in the trees next to the house or put in a suet holder. Some people think that crows are a nuisance, but I like to watch them, and even the ravens come to partake of whatever feast we throw out. I will throw old bread, pizza, cookies — whatever I have. They will swoop down and grab whatever it is. It’s pretty cool how much they can fly off with; I’ve seen them swoop down and grab a piece of pizza and fly to the top of a tree.
One day I had baked some cookies. I must have forgotten something in the recipe because they came out of the oven hard as a rock. I decided to throw these out to the crows. I watched the first one swoop down and grab a cookie. I think they liked them although they seemed to have a hard time taking off.
The blue jays are beautiful, and aggressive to some of the other smaller birds. We have even had the Canada jays, which are a gray color. Jays are large songbirds and are known for their intelligence and they hold a tight family bond. Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping spread oak trees.
My favorite birds to watch are the chickadees. My husband will stand by the feeder with sunflower seeds in his hand and they will land on his fingers. I have tried this several times but have not had the pleasure of them landing in my hand. I will master this before the winter is over. I read recently that this little bird is curious and unafraid of humans. They hide seeds and other food items to eat later, they place each item in different spots and can remember thousands of hiding places.
Grosbeaks are a frequent bird that comes to our feeders. These pretty yellow birds have a large beak that is good for cracking seeds. There are a lot of species of Grosbeaks in the world. As with most birds the difference between the male and female are distinguished by color, the males are more brightly colored then the female.
We have only had a few cardinals come to our feeder, and that was a few years ago. Some people are lucky and see them often. One year we had a pair of them, I keep hoping that someday I will get to see these beautiful red birds again. People always say it is a sign from heaven when you get a cardinal at your feeder.
And who else inhabits our feeders? The squirrels. They are so fun to watch. My little Yorkie-poo, Sadie, loves to chase these critters. She never catches them. I think she holds herself back. They will run from her, jump on the tire of the vehicle. She will watch them and they will chatter at her. She just wants to play with them.
One night my husband woke me up at 12 a.m. to a rare sighting of a flying squirrel. They have larger eyes, and they are somewhat bigger than a regular squirrel and you can see the apron on each side that is their flying apparatus. It was cool to see these wild critters even if it was early in the morning.
If you don’t already feed the birds, get yourself some feeders and seeds. Enjoy what nature gives you.
If you are looking for a pet, check out the Central Aroostook Humane Society, 24 Cross St., Presque Isle. We have some wonderful animals waiting for their forever home, the staff at the shelter will match you with an animal that is right for you. Be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.
Gail Wieder is a board member for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.