Saturday, July 28, 2007

Feed the birds...

...tuppence a bag. Mary Poppins famously taught her charges a simple lesson with that little ditty. Jane and Michael spent most of their days indoors so had failed to learn about the world around them; where food came from, the sky over their heads, and animals in their midst. Sound familiar? Do you know the name of that red bird in the yard or what it's call sounds like? Can you name your state bird? Birds can tell us so much about the state of our world. They are creatures of habit, migrating at the same time every year and waking up at the same time every morning to sing their song. A Red tail Hawk comes to my back yard and sits in a pine tree everyday at 2:00. Every evening a Mockingbird sits in the top of an oak tree next to a hedge and sings for an hour. Cardinals nest in that hedge and visit the bird feeder at 5:00 like clockwork. Migrating yellow finches chatter and hop around in the oaks as they pay their yearly spring visit. In February hummingbirds expect a sip from pineapple sage in the perennial border. A pair of quail used to walk through our yard everyday. We haven't seen them or their offspring for years. They are sadly missed. It's a mystery why they stopped visiting. It's true that quail are disappearing in the wild and no one knows why. But the call of "bob white" still echoes through my memory.
The National Audubon Society publishes excellent regional guides to birds and other wildlife. Many people prefer the Peterson field guide to birds. Either one is easy to use and will help you learn about the birds in your midst.

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