Wednesday, October 08, 2008

With a Smile and a Song (and a little seed)

Chickadee on my hand (in the pouring rain no less!)

We have a small fenced in back yard that extends from a deck at the rear door of the house. My husband has spent a lot of time this summer putting a stone border around the flower beds and the results have been worth the effort. We have some mature trees now that house is over 30 years old and they attract more birds and wild life each year. I have not put bird feeders out since the winter but when I sit on the deck I place a few handfuls of mixed seed on the benches and stone borders. We have a nice raised bird bath and I also place a couple of water dishes on the ground for the shyer visitors.

Blue Jay by the door

I have been rewarded with plenty of wildlife who have come to identify me as a source of food. Chickadees readily eat from my hand and the red squirrel and chipmunk are very close to to being tamed enough to come to me for seeds. A white-tailed bunny loves my arugula and stops by each evening. Migrating birds may appear for only a day but they can find shelter and food in the shrubs and trees.

Red Squirrel enjoying cones from the Blue Spruce tree

In the past week I have also had close encounters with a yellow warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, blue jays, white-throated and white-crowned sparrows, cedar waxwings, goldfinches, robins, house finches, white and red-breasted nuthatches, a swainson's thrush and our family of cardinals.

American Robin in the Mountain Ash tree

The mountain ash tree has plenty of berries this year and flocks of robins descend on it several times a day. The fruit has been the attraction for the waxwings and thrush as well.

American Goldfinch in fluffy new feathers

The warblers and goldfinches peck away at the bark for some reason, perhaps for insects of some kind. The goldfinches and chickadees also like the seeds from the dead heads of my purple coneflowers.

My daughters are trying to get me to sing With a Smile and a Song from Walt Disney's Snow White when this assortment of creatures surrounds me. I don't think anyone would want to hear me quaver out all those high notes! Perhaps I am closer to the Bird Lady from Mary Poppins.

My feeders will go up soon as I will be at work from dark to dark during the week as the days shorten. There is plenty of food in the garden for now though to keep the birds and small animals full until the snow flies.


  1. Your pictures are most lovely.That last one of the Chickadee looks like it was posing for you.What a treat to have the birds feed from your hand!

  2. Aww--Ruth--this is very sweet. And I do like the mental image of you a la Disney, feeding small creatures and singing a song!

  3. This is a wonderful post Ruth. Your words and pictures make me wish I were there. I'd love to see a picture of the stone border that your DH built.

  4. Really great photos. The squirrel and the pine cones is an award winner!

  5. Anonymous7:41 am GMT-4

    What beautiful pictures. That is very special to have the birds/animals feed out of your hand. A well trusted person you are. I agree with kgmom I get a vision of a lovely princess singing with the birds.
    I had kept bird seed out all summer but didn't have to fill too often. The latter part of summer and into September I didn't fill it at all. No birds. But about the mid part of September they came back in large numbers. I have been filling them every other day now. It's mostly sparrows, blue jays, doves and some warblers. Nice to see lots of birds on the feeders, but they sure know how to empty in a hurry. I have not seen any Junco's yet, have you?

  6. Oh, I am so jealous Ruth. I love that chickadee in your hand! Lucky, lucky you. :c)

  7. Lovely pictures. What a shame that work will take you away during the daylight hours. But you will still have weekends to enjoy the birds.

  8. Hi Ruth! As always, love your pictures! My father has several red squirrels that eat from our hands. Its kind of scary when you realize all of sudden they're at your feet reaching up for peanuts! Uh, I don't have them, please don't run up my leg and bite me I'll go and get them right now! LOL! Its kind of neat though when they hold your hand when getting their peanut.
    Tell me about your winters please. I live in NE Kansas and we average something like 17 inches a season of snow and lows often dip below freezing, but rarely below 0.
    Thanks for visiting my blog! Glad your daughters enjoyed the music!

  9. Having critters in and around the yard ... so rewarding! Lately, we've had ALL of the wood peckers coming daily for their supply from the peanut feeder. Of course, the chickadees, nuthatches and siskins are regulars ... sometimes it seems the whole back yard is in flight! Even a couple of grosbeaks the other day and a purple finch.

    Squirrel is still going nutso on it's seed collecting. I love the picture of your squirrel with the cone! Great shot.

  10. Ruth,

    I have caught up with all of your posts. The balloon looks like a fun thing to do, but not for me. Heights and I do not get along, yet I love to watch them.

    I enjoyed today's post. You always get such great shots of the birds. One of my favorite birds is the saucy bluejay. They are so beautiful and we saw two playing in Huntsville on Wednesday morning. I have a photo of one, but not a good one.

    I need to get my feeders out as well. The bluejays and cardinals come to it.

    We say a Kestrel while we were up north. He was very pretty and friendly too.

    Enjoyed visiting with you, as always. Take care and have a great day.

    Sending you off an email.


  11. What an enchating have a bird feed from your hand is a rare treat.......

    I love the red squirrel.....unfortunately we have lost most of our native reds....there are pockets of them in the UK and even those are under threat....the reason is the grey squirrel....sad.....

  12. Hi Ruth:-)

    Mary sent me over to see your photos...she was right, they are absolutely breathtaking! I just can't get over how you got that Chickadee to eat out of your hand. We have many birds that feed from our feeders in our backyard but I've never been lucky enough to have one land on my hand to eat!! The shot of the squirrel with all those pinecones is amazing! I'm so glad I dropped by. I'm in the Sudbury area:-) xox

  13. Lovely clear pics. I like watching the red squirrel feasting on pinecones. Your chickadee looked so sweet - lucky you to have him eating out of your hand!

  14. Wish I could have a bird feed from my hand. I can whistle to our male Great Kiskadees and they will answer. They keep changing their melody a little and as I answer they repeat what I do. I get out of wind before they do. They are my specials. During a rain from Hurricane Norbert (Pacific side) there was a Pine Siskin on a low tree top having a bath. The wind and torrential rain added to his pleasure.

  15. Oh, go ahead and sing. :o)

    I'm very jealous of your Chickadees and the bird life at your home. It'll take years for our property to mature enough to attract birds without feeders. I'm trying!

    Lovely post, Ruth.

  16. Your photos are fantastic; you've become a skilled wildlife photographer, Ruth!

  17. I loved seeing the birds that frequent your yard and loved the red squirrel. I don't think we have them here....


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