Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The line-up

The ground is covered with heavy frost, the air nips at fingers and nose and as soon as the sun is over the top of the "mountain" little birds begin to gather at my feeders.

There are six of them but I also spread seed along the deck railings underneath one feeder, on a plate underneath another and on a wooden table in the side yard. They are usually all cleaned out within about two hours of sunrise. Not the feeders, which take until dusk to achieve and empty state, but the other spots - the railings, plate and table.

You can see by the photograph - the line-up gathering black oil sunflower seeds for breakfast. These are goldfinches, but they are often joined by chicadees, white-breasted nuthatches, dark-eyed juncoes, woodpeckers and blue jays. They feast for a couple of hours, then leave, returning around noon for lunch which also lasts about two hours and then again around 3:30 or 4.

The feeders all need to be refilled the next morning and I bring them in at night to avoid the raccoons, one of which got into a tangle with my dogs two nights ago - hair-raising! The dogs barked and attacked. The coon fought back and my yellow lab Bliss got a bloody nose and was fortunate in not losing an eye. I turned the hose on the dogs after much yelling and screaming and gave the poor creature a chance to climb up a tree - it had a huge gash on its back. I'm sure its little heart was beating much faster than mine as it fought off the two big dogs.

No wonder it didn't return last night. But raccoons are survivors. I have no doubt it will be raiding someone else's feeder or corn bin tonight.

And the seeds on the ground will be cleaned up by squirrels or some other critter I'm sure, and every morning I will enjoy my line-up and the gathering of the feathered clans...beautiful bird sound as they chat away with each other while they stock up for the cold fall nights.


  1. I really liked the goldfinches all lined up in a queue. Hope your lab is Okay. Raccoons can be tough characters. Years ago I had one try to drown a hound in a river, fortunately the hound had a very strong neck and shook the coon off!

    Lovely post. Funny, I never thought of bringing my feeders in at night. Bears are the problem in this area.

  2. The bears have just started moving back in here Bill, hopefully they'll stay away from my pond and feeders - and the lab is okay - a scratched nose and a couple of tiny bite marks - thanks for asking. And yes the birds are so comical the way they line up not waiting to get on the feeder, but chowing down on the railing.