David, my husband, loves birds. Years ago, I was enamored by (among other things) his unabashed desire to haunt woods and seashores to stare through binoculars at these winged creatures. His fascination was contagious; I too, learned to delight in the flight of swallows or the song of white-throated sparrows or the barred wings of an owl. But we have lived in a city for the past thirty years, and though we successfully enticed some birds to feeders in our backyard, the number of species that came to visit was small. Beyond that, our careers, a house to maintain, and children to raise meant we took very few outings into the wild to go looking for birds.
But that was then. In the first week we were here, Dave’s priority was birdfeeders. In fact, it’s a bit embarrassing how many feeders we have and how much money we have spent on them, but I’ll delineate them anyway: 4 hummingbird feeders, 3 suet feeders, 2 thistle feeders, 2 platform feeders, 6 songbird feeders, 2 oriole feeders. I bat house, 7 birdhouses.
But oh, the pay-off.
I wish I had pictures of all of them; but the number as of today is 45 species of birds in our yard since the day we moved in. Here are a few of my favorites:
Chickadee, Northern Oriole, Indigo Bunting,
Overhead, we’ve seen pelicans. And gulls, of course, as we are only minutes from Lake Michigan.
Last week, Dave spotted an owl on the land behind us. He sat for over an hour in the fading light hoping to entice it back. (Playing recordings of other owls really does work, just not every time..)
This morning, we heard the call of sandhill cranes reverberating across the mist right behind our house. They were close, and they were calling to more cranes across the ridge. I threw on some shoes, and went in search. My picture isn’t great, because I didn’t want to get too close. I’d like to encourage them to stay in my backyard.
And speaking of staying, we now have a bluebird building its nest in the bird house that Dave hammered to my favorite birch tree.
How great is this? The man I married is now able to return to his love of birds- from his back porch. And I have blue birds and sand hill cranes in my back yard.