Life At The Birdfeeder

It is much quieter here at Marshview now that the summer visitors have flow to warmer climates. The red-winged blackbird is the first to arrive in the early spring and the first to leave in the late summer. I take down the bird feeder soon after they arrive since they can easily go through a feeder of food a day. They live in the wetlands behind the house.

Red-winged blackbird at Marshview

Red-winged blackbird at Marshview

Sparrows are year round residents. We put up houses to attract bluebirds and we have had a few families of bluebirds but more sparrow babies have been born in the bluebird houses than bluebirds.

Bluebird at Marshview

Bluebird at Marshview

The same is true of the purple martin house. One summer, purple martins set up residence in our garage. To avoid this the following summer, we put up a purple martin house and, you guessed it, the pushy sparrows set up residence in the purple martin house.

Sparrow, sparrows everywhere

Sparrow, sparrows everywhere

This autumn I noticed a woodpecker going in and out of a bluebird house. I hope she stays.
Cardinals and blue jays also spend the winter here. They add a bit of color to our grey winters. Chickadees chat away in the winter months and are often the only birdsong I here from December to March. Owls stay the year. I only hear their calls at night. I have yet to see one.

The birds of Marshview are a sturdy bunch. They simply go about their lives here and it is pleasure watching them. I keep a birdfeeder outside the front window in the cold months so I can get a closer look at the birds with which I share this bit of land. I have learned that cardinals travel in pairs. The bright red male is easy to see and his pale red companion is always close by.

Cardinal pair

Cardinal pair

Watching the chickadees is like watching a bunch of preschoolers. I can just hear the blue jays saying, “Enough already”. And speaking of blue jays, they have the worst table manners of all the visitors to the feeder. The sit at the feeder and sway their beaks back and forth spreading seed all over the ground. This makes it easier for the morning doves to get their food so I suppose it is a symbiotic relationship.

It is settling in time now at Marshview. The birds and I spend out time trying to stay warm, dry, and well fed. The choice of seasonal food is rather low, but we do enjoy a few store bought treats to get us through the cold, dark days. As I watch the birds at the feeder, I am watching life being lived around me.

Life at the birdfeeder is not as loud, fast, and colorful as what I see on television, but it is real life being lived around me. So when I am feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I take a few minutes and observe life at the birdfeeder and I realize how simple and beautiful life can be.

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  1. Carole says

    We may have your red-winged blackbirds here in Florida. We keep a few all year but the gang is all here for the winter. In the evening red-wings from throughout the county come in small flocks to spend the night together in a marsh. I counted 20,000 during the Great Backyard Bird Count.

    The sparrows are winter visitors. The swamp sparrows returned a week ago and I saw my first chipping sparrow this morning.

  2. Karen says

    I made the mistake of not filling the bird feeder during the summer (funds were a little tight), and now that it’s fall and I’ve purchased fresh seed (the good stuff!), no one is coming to it. Not even the squirrels.

  3. says

    Mary, thanks for the window view of your bird feeders…we took down all our bird feeders (except hummingbird) because of cat predation, but I miss seeming them….especially the chickadees! You are right..the juncos (ground feeders) love those messy blue jays!!

  4. says

    Mary! Isn’t nature grand! When I lived in the “city”, outside Washington DC, I kept a bird feeder full and thoroughly enjoyed seeing who would show up. Now I am not only in the country, but high up in the mountains of central Virginia. Bears keep me from feeding the birds here, they tend to be curious about the feeders and do eat the seed as well. A bit funny to think about – bears eating bird seed! But NATURE! How I love it! Thank you for your blog post!

  5. Marilyn says

    Mary, I love this post and the pictures. Marshview must be a wonderful place. We’re getting lots of house finches and cardinals at our town feeder now, as well as chickadees and titmice. Lots of mourning doves come to feed on the ground. The other morning we had a hard freeze and I looked out to see three mourning doves sitting on the edge of the birdbath looking sadly at the frozen water. It was frozen hard enough for them to walk on! I knew the temperatures had dropped below freezing, but wouldn’t have thought it was that cold! Sometimes when the bird bath needs attention, I see the birds looking up at the window and think they are saying: “Get out here, you lazy old thing!” I got right out there and broke the ice and replaced the water, and was happy to see one mourning dove fly right back for a long refreshing drink. We have our bird feeder inside a fenced area and the cats stay on the other side of the fence. I made a “mini” brush pile under the feeder and the cardinals and doves seem to approve of that. I do envy your marsh view, Mary.

  6. says

    Here we still have the Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles but I imagine they will be leaving soon. I have not seen any Juncos yet but know they have reached Central NY. I have a gang of House Sparrows and sometimes resent them as they are pushy and only the hardy birds will push back. I don’t bother with Blue Bird houses as I know the sparrows will just take over. I am hoping the Titmice come back for the Winter. Last year they stayed the Winter but left in the Spring. I love to feed the Blue Jays peanuts. Birds are the life of the garden in Winter. I love your view.
    Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern recently posted..New Encounter

  7. says

    I’m excited to be moving out of my apartment next month into a great house that the current owners have an awesome setup for feeding our feathered friends.
    I can’t wait.
    Even though they are more expensive I like to feed sunflower hearts. My little dog loves to snarf the sunflower hulls and they get stuck in her throat and then she’s hacking trying to get the out. So the hearts work great that there’s no mess and they really draw in the birds once they discover them.
    Kevin J Railsback recently posted..Discovering Your Creativity for Nature and Wildlife Filmmaking

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