Sunday, September 13, 2015

The gift that brought joy (even if it didn't match)

 In April, my daughters gave me my Mother's Day gift in person (an "average" of Mother's Days which is celebrated earlier in the UK and later in the US).  It was a bird feeder made from a cup and saucer.  True confession--the first thing that crossed my mind was that they didn't match. I share some photos from the season with our bird feeder below, and want to let you know that this turned out to be a wonderful gift.

In our first two years in Japan, we lived at a home in the woods, and out our kitchen window we would watch chickadees. After we left there, we didn't watch birds...I've been trying to figure out why.  One reason that come to mind is that we lived in a more urban area, where the most obvious birds were crows...definitely not high on our pleasure list. We had birds at our summer cabin, and would enjoy hearing most of them (the piercing call of the pheasant took some getting used to). So when we came to Charlotte, I was overwhelmed with the sound of birds in our yard. I would be fascinated by the bird orchestra that was performing when I would get up early, take my Bible, diary and that first cup of coffee out to our deck, and just sit and listen.

We went ahead and first hung the bird feeder from the deck to begin with, but soon after bought this shepherd hook that enabled us to put the feeder off the deck yet within reach.  We bought "bird seed" but realized that the birds that were coming were primarily Cardinals, and they were going solely for the sunflower seeds in the mix.

So we went ahead and bought sunflower seeds and only added a little of the other bird seed. We filled the cup with water, and the saucer with the seed. On occasion we would see a squirrel trying to dangle from the hook to the cup, and a few mornings we awoke to the cup flipped over with all the seed on the ground. I actually saw a Mocking Bird go after that squirrel one day!

We ended up spending much of the summer watching the Cardinals--we had a whole family that would come--papa, mama and eventually the baby was introduced to our feeder.  They would sit and chatter on the railing if the feeder was out of seed, too.  Mid-summer they started looking really bad--like they'd been in a fight or were having a bad hair day. I went online to discover that they were molting. As the summer drew to a close, they started looking better. I think they've headed out recently because we have other visitors to our feeder now.

More recently we've had wrens and chickadees hanging out--so we've brought out more of the smaller seed. 

We have two Humming Bird feeders on the deck as well, and one very territorial bird. He started "hiding" on the shepherd hook among the two metal birds, waiting to chase away any other bird that dared to approach "his" feeders.  I've come to the conclusion that all those photos of multiple humming birds feeding from one feeder must be photo-shopped...

As I mentioned at the beginning, I've spent many mornings watching the birds this summer. As it is getting a little cooler (and dark!) in the early morning, I'm already grieving the loss of this respite. 

Thank you, B & A, for the mis-matched cup and saucer. It's been great!