For the Birds in the Garden

Good friends make this time of year extra?special. And I am super lucky in having Alison Gordon in my life. She?s my opera buddy, hortbuddy and now a birding buddy. I know very little about birds. I can recognize the local red-tailed hawk when he?s out hunting but I?m fairly baffled by most things that aren?t obvious. I?m learning, I?m learning.

But Alison has taken it up with a vengeance, guided by uber-birder Graeme Gibson (author of the wonderful book A Bedside Book of Birds).

Alison wrote the other day:

??while I have your attention let me put in a plug for bird feeding. ?(re an earlier blog) I have just come from sitting at my kitchen table?eating cheese and watching the poor birds. They’re mobbing the feeders?(which I refilled to the top yesterday, in preparation for the storm)?and sitting on the bushes with their feathers puffed up like little?down vests. In the 20 minutes I watched, I had: juncoes, chickadees,?cardinals, house sparrows, goldfinches, house finches and, of course,?rock doves (aka pigeons, which I remind myself often, are God’s creatures too). Each with its own personality, and each grateful for?the food.

I know that there are problems for the gardener?the spilt seeds not?only attract squirrels and the aforementioned pigeons but lead to weeds?in the spring?but they are a joy in the winter.
And with your?fabulous window to the garden, they can keep you charmed all winter?long.
If you want advice about what kind of feeders might work for?you, I will be glad to consult. And, yes, go to a proper bird store?there’s a great one on Mount Pleasant at Manor Road?because last?year when I substituted President’s Choice seeds for the usual?sunflower, they simply stopped coming. The seed was stale. When I?went back to the real stuff, they flocked back.”

Well, we’ve had another huge dump of snow here in Toronto and the birds indeed are massing in the branches of shrubs and trees. I know the berries are going to run out. It will be on to new adventures. ?Another little warning: ?get out there and knock snow off plants:?they’ll get flattened and lead to winter damage.