Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Lunch Bunch

Most of the visitors to my feeders are pretty shy. The woodpeckers - downy and hairy, blue jays, finches, all disappear if I open the deck door.

Not so these cheeky House sparrows. There are perhaps 12 to 14 members of this family. It grows of course during spring and summer, but the youngsters are encouraged to move on as soon as they are able to fend for themselves.

But year round, this group lives in one of the mugo pines, the spruce, or the hedge of juniper on one side of the church. They provide endless chatter as well as constant amusement for the dogs who when bored, will rush at the tree or shrub they inhabit and then give chase. It's a game. They all know it's a game. Seldom is a bird caught by Bliss, the big hunter of the two Labradors.

But the fun of the flutter of wings as they rush away from the bouncing, barking fiends who determinedly interrupt good conversation or a meal of sunflower seeds, is way too much for the dogs not to grab each opportunity. It appears to be part of the balance of nature on this wee property.

The Lunch Bunch (as I call the many birds that arrive here to dine) meets between 11:30 and 1 p.m. on the railing of my deck and squabble over who gets first place on the feeder. That there are two other feeders also filled with seeds doesn't seem to make a difference unless the wind is high and affects the deck.

They meet earlier as well - for breakfast, but they're not serious about food, having just wakened at 8 and only hang about briefly after a few nibbles.

They are joined in succession by blue jays, who usually are the largest of the birds at the feeders throughout the winter, and definitely the most aggressive. Finches - gold, house and purple, chickadees, white-crowned sparrows, American Tree sparrows, juncos, nuthatches, woodpeckers and sometimes pine siskins and redpolls all join in at all the feeders mostly over the lunch hour, but often later in the afternoon as well.

Loitering hopefully underneath are the mourning doves. Sometimes a cardinal and its mate will show up - always a treat to see that flash of red on the male and the soft orange crest of the female. There will be some starlings and perhaps a grackle or two that will hang about over the winter if it remains mild. Such a diverse group of birds.

But they all seem able to take their turn.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if people were able to mimic nature and work together to find a common rhythm for getting food and working together?

I'm thinking of the"Occupy" movement which started so hopefully and has certainly made a statement about the vast difference between have and have not. It's sad that it is now being invaded by less savoury elements than the earnest protesters who conceived and initiated it.

It's so important to stand up for what we believe in, for what we feel is important. For me it's about protecting this earth, working towards reducing pollution, finding sensible alternatives to fossil fuels, protecting our water and wild places.

What's important in your world? Are you among the lunch bunch in your community - getting along and cooperating on mutual goals?


  1. I have noticed, also, that the great variety of birds at feeding stations tend to take their turn. And yes, there is certainly a lot in nature that we could learn from. In fact there is an infinite amount we can learn. Nice post.

  2. Lovely observations, Barbara. I was amused yesterday to see pigeons on NYC's W. 59th Street, eating with carriage horses! The grain had spilled from the horse's feed, and the pigeons were munching away with the horses, keeping out of the way of their hooves, of course.

  3. Thank you both for stopping by, I so enjoy both of your blogs. As for pigeons on 59th street and the carriage horses, I well remember the pigeons that used to do the same in front of the first house we had in Toronto just after WW2, when our bread and milk were delivered by horse and wagon, not farm wagons of course but delivery vans pulled by one or two owned by the producer. The pigeons dodged about beneath the feet of the big Clydes or Percherons that worked so hard pulling those wagons. Thanks for reminding me. And Bill I agree, observing nature has taught me and mine a great deal... hopefully others will catch on.