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My husband and I feed the birds in our backyard. We have hummingbirds, gold finches, house finches, doves, black birds (many varieties), robins and other various “brown” birds. We are easily entertained watching their activity and marvel at how fascinated we are at something as simple as backyard birding.

Of course it isn’t inexpensive to feed them as they are hungry little things. I read somewhere a long time ago that birds eat at least 10 times their weight every day. I believe it! And then there is the issue of the pigeons that want to take part in the feeding frenzy and are messy, noisy and most unwelcome. Did I mention the neighbor’s cat that became an excellent hunter and took great sport in targeting “our” birds? Thank goodness he seems to have moved on, he brought out my mean mama self, bad language and all. Oh and the bird pooh and seed residual that surround the feeding areas are not aromatic at all. Lastly, we also have a few casualties that smash into the windows in their gluttonous confusion. Hence, the little birdie graveyard by the small maple tree. Mother Mary oversees the sacred ground.

There is always a price to be paid. No free lunch and all that. The fact is it is worth it. We enjoy them and they enjoy the dining sanctuary (minus the cat and windows). Our fountains in the backyard are as much for them as us, and they take full advantage by drinking and bathing constantly. The Robin likes to get totally soaked to the point I doubt he will be able to fly. The little house finches are like motor boats as they work to clean themselves. The doves are timid, the hummers are brave and the pigeons a nuisance.

Some like to eat off the finch socks, others are ground feeders and the hummers have their own liquid feeders. A year ago I decided I wanted to call in the Orioles. My brother has them in his yard about ten miles away. I am a bit competitive. Orioles are very pretty. I thought if he has them I should be able to bring them to my yard. I researched what they like to eat; oranges and sugar-water similar to hummingbird food. They make feeders specifically for Orioles that have a wider opening to drink the nectar. I bought one, made the nectar and put it out. Nothing all summer. Well, that isn’t true. The hummers loved it. Okay, so, all was not lost at least the hummers have another feeder.

I kept thinking how do I get the word out to all the Orioles that I know are out there, but I just don’t see? I sent them telepathic messages. No response. I kept the food out all year. I thought about them, read about them on my Android’s bird app. I played their songs from my phone app. I waited.

I noticed early this spring that some of the little brown birds started drinking from one of my hummingbird feeders. Interesting. Sugar addicts? Hmmm. Then a couple of weeks later I heard an unusual chatter and there was a female Oriole brazing her way to the feeder! She was noisy, on alert, and claiming her space. She is a little skittish but she drinks her dinner.

It took a year but it worked! We now have the male and the female Oriole dining with us. They aren’t the same variety that my brother has…so you know my work here is not done. My friend gave me a new Oriole feeder for my birthday this week. You place oranges on it and hang it in the backyard. I am fairly certain the ants and wasps will love it but I am also hopeful it will call in those beautiful black and orange Orioles my brother has in his yard. I may have to employ my patience as it could take another year to get the message out…Oranges at the Joiners!

I have begun to identify the birds by their songs and chatter. The Red-Winged Black birds have a whistle that is alluring. The long-tailed black birds come in loud like a motorcycle gang. The little brown birds come in gangs and are loud and noisy as they feed their young. The Goldfinches have a sweeter song and are quiet in comparison. The hummers click and buzz. The Mourning Doves coo their soft song as they sit and watch the activity. The Robins sing every morning during the spring and summer. I call them Morning Birds. Before sunrise they call up the sun….loud, clear and resonate. It works…that sun comes up every single morning. It makes me smile.

 

Lisa Joiner

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© Lisa Joiner and HighRoadpost, 2014 Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Joiner and HighRoadPost.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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