Sassy Sue wows the bark park visitors with her catching and retrieving.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sassy Sue Feeds the Birds

Norma Boeckler created this male cardinal picture, which is just what they look like outside my window.

We are in the middle of the Sno-pocalypse. At dawn we had almost nothing on the ground. A few hours later we had inches on the ground, more falling, and the roads closed. The state highway may be open, but we cannot see it through the snow.

Nevertheless, Sassy Sue and I went out to feed the birds. She was moping, because she loves going out about this time every day. Sassy pranced through the snow and chased some birds out of the bushes. By the time we were done, she was beaming, with snow on her face and back.

Snow and sleet bring out the birds, especially if they have long-term feeding stations. The blue jays were screeching near the backyard squirrel feeder, so I put another ear of corn on the spike. Some corn was left, which told me the squirrels slept in rather than brave the storm. Blue jays like the corn kernels and treat them as nuts, pecking at them while held in their claws.

Sassy and I took sunflower seeds and loose corn to the area under the front porch. Later, plenty of birds were eating from the planter-feeder and also among the rocks.

Near the window, where I work, the cardinals, titmice, and woodpeckers were feeding. Yesterday I filled up the Duncraft feeder and put in another block of suet. The basket lasted about three months, so it is the least expensive feeder. Suet baskets are also handy for those who go away on trips. The suet keeps a number of birds coming at all times. Birds, like people, enjoy plenty of company and stay wary of new or quiet feeding areas.

The ear of corn was eaten to the cob, so Sassy and I replaced it. We also scattered extra seed around the ground and behind the bushes. Birds can navigate the sides of the house with ease, so I often see them around the windows, clinging to the wood with the claws. I wonder if they are looking in to thank me or to remind me.

By coincidence, a small bird came into the garage while I was getting out seed. I had already done some feeding at that point, but neglected the snow covered spot near the garage door. I swept an area clear and put down some fresh seed. It never lasts long.

I noticed before the storm how much bird singing we hear now. One reason for singing is the male bird establishing his territory, but it is still early for that. Male cardinals are feeding together, not competing for females yet. Birds are naturally cheerful and make us feel happy with them. They have no savings, no retirement. Few of them store food, so they start the day hungry but optimistic, singing Matins, praising the Creator.

Everyone knows Sassy at the dog park. She is famous for retrieving and for catching high pop flyballs.
She loves the applause and the praise.

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