To the editor:
This winter for the first time I had Goldfinches at the Niger feeder. Although both male and female were a drab, nondescript pale brown, they were easy to distinguish from English …
To the editor:
This winter for the first time I had Goldfinches at the Niger feeder. Although both male and female were a drab, nondescript pale brown, they were easy to distinguish from English sparrows as they had two very distinct white slashes on their dark wings. Well, no longer. All of a sudden the females look as though they had been washed with very pale lemony lime watercolor and the males, and the males, oh those males, are a brilliant lemon as if to say “Look at me! Look at me! I’m the one who should be your husband!” I note that it is seldom that the bright males are at the feeder, but the females seem to be there all day. Just staying put and eating and eating. According to David Allen Sibley, she carries only one egg at a time, otherwise she couldn’t fly. But she can make eggs very quickly once the yolk is fertilized, so no wonder she is so hungry.
On Thanksgiving Day I had a wonderful treat. A gorgeous pheasant was walking slowly along inside the my lawn’s fence. He had probably walked and flown the mile from a nearby refuge where pheasants had been released for hunters. He was joined later by two drab wives, who instead of his lordly pace, scuttled along. It was always easy to spot him as he had a white collar which didn’t quite meet at his throat and in the late afternoon sun he shone like a bronze statue. All winter long it has been a pleasure to watch him; sometimes sitting on the fence, feeding on the mixed bird seed we put out for him, or just strolling along. But yesterday no sight or sound and he has a loud, raucous cry which is unmistakable. Today I am like a child, thinking that if I wish hard enough and long enough he will come back.
I guess all of us bird feeders are plagued by squirrels but I thought I was safe in hanging suet cakes in a holder which had a slippery roof. Wrong! There is at least one “rat covered with fur” who has learned to eat upside down and who can clean me out overnight. So we are going to move the shepherd’s crook from which the feeder is hanging and move it away from a small magnolia in the hopes that this little tree has been a launching pad.
.You probably already have found your Hummingbird feeder(s) and checked to see if you have enough sugar to make the nectar — one cup to four cups water, boiled — and are ready to put theses all together this weekend? Yes?
Isn’t it wonderful not to have to wonder if spring is coming?