Empty Nest Syndrome

| 9/24/2010 5:05:30 PM

Tags: Birdwatching, Swallows, Bird photography, Cindy Murphy,

“Look. There’s my doves.”

Shelby and I were sitting on the back porch, talking, when two pairs of doves flew in and started pecking at the spilled safflower seed on the ground around the bird feeder.

Your doves? Mom, those aren’t your birds; they’re Nature’s birds.”

She is, of course, right. I can’t lay claim to nature’s creatures, but while they’re in my yard, they’re referred to as “my birds.” We enjoy quite a varied lot of avian visitors – much more than just the flocks of sparrows and house finches that crowded the feeder when we first moved in. My plantings of trees, shrubs, and gardens have attracted daily regulars – robins, jays, my wren, goldfinches, chickadees, nuthatches, hummingbirds, cardinals, and Earl the downy woodpecker, (I have no idea if it’s the same woodpecker I see every day; all woodpeckers are named Earl); occasionally there will be a red-winged black bird, grosbeak, or flicker.

And my crows. Given they’re my favorites, it’s odd I haven’t given them names, except The One with the Broken Crower. Though it chatters constantly, I’ve never hear it “caw”; instead it lets out a series of clicks, and a gurgly trilling call that sounds like a lawnmower badly in need of a tune up. I have a lot of admiration for crows. They and their kin - the raven, magpie, and jay are extremely intelligent birds; perhaps the most intelligent in the bird world. There is a flock of about 200 that roost in winter in the huge pine tree behind our across-the-street neighbor's yard. In spring, they break into their family units. Crows usually mate for life, and it is not unusual for their young to remain with the parents for a few years. The four that are constantly in my yard this year are probably parents and their grown offspring. They are clowns, always doing something entertaining.

Spring always brings a lot of migratory birds that stay for a brief time before continuing on their journey to more northern grounds. A flock of warblers that hung around for a week in April announced that this was going to be a season for the birds.

s.m.r. saia
10/6/2010 9:20:49 AM

Cindy, thanks for sharing your bird season. I always enjoy reading your posts. Shannon

cindy murphy
10/1/2010 8:32:36 PM

Oh-my-gosh, Vickie! Myrtle the Turtle?! And the poor chickens too?! I live in fear that my neighbor's chippy little dog will end up under my tires one morning as I'm backing out to go to work. He's half blind, half deaf, and 100 percent ornery. He stands right at the edge of where the sidewalk and driveway meet, daring me to back over him if he decides to step into the drive at just the last minute. Grrrr....I believe he's at least as irritating as the squirrels. You're welcome to come sit on my porch and watch the birds anytime. You like coffee? I've always got a pot on for anyone who stops in. Between bird watching and coffee drinking we can discuss the hazards of living with small animals who feel the need to hang out in the driveway. Enjoy your weekend.

9/30/2010 5:25:14 PM

Cindy, Loved it. I would love to sit out on your porch and watch all the birds-sounds wonderful. We've had our stories of animals as the girls grew up-we once had a turtle the girls named Myrtle. It was a good size turtle -we lived in the backwoods of Kentucky then. We had to go to the store and as I was backing up I backed up over Myrtle. The girls never forgave me. then there was the chickens I ran over... Vickie

cindy murphy
9/28/2010 7:35:02 AM

Hi, Stepper. Thanks for stopping in and leaving your kind words. Regarding Perry...ah yes, I can never pass up such a good opportunity to make such a bad pun. Be thankful the girls didn't name it "Joan"...because then I would have had to call it Joan Cawford, which is a way worse pun than Perry Crowmo.

chris davis
9/27/2010 9:20:09 PM

Well done Cindy. Your blog entries are always interesting and well researched, and as a fan of nature I just couldn’t pass this one without comment. I’m glad you got to see the robins fledge, but I must admit I’m jealous of your nursery. Such a wide variety of birds! It’s been ages since I’ve seen an owl outside of a zoo. Where I live now robins are quite rare and I miss having them visit our feeders. Whether human or avian, there’s something special about watching babies grow up. Thanks for sharing your experiences. PS: Perry Crowmo? You are such a hoot! Or should I say caw?

cindy murphy
9/27/2010 6:26:33 PM

Hi, Dave. Not a fan of crows? Yes, they do have their territories, and don't play very well with the other birds, (though the busy chickadees and nuthatches don't seem to mind their presence). They're largely misunderstood though, and are very interesting if you really watch them, and learn their habits. Like I said, they're my favorites. Kinda a neat thing....I discovered three other people in the neighborhood with groups of crows in their yard who adore them, and all refer to them in the same way I do - as THEIR crows. Thanks for stopping in, and good luck with all your fall gardening projects - it sounds as if you've got enough to keep you busy 'til the snow flies! Hope you had a great trip, and caught lots of fish.

nebraska dave
9/27/2010 9:21:28 AM

@Cindy, birds are fun to watch. I can’t say that I am a big fan of crows. They seem a bit territorial for me. They just don’t play well with other birds. This year certainly has been bad for mothers of wild birds. June and July here were filled with rain and wind storms as well. I am totally in agreement with you on squirrels. Now that I’ve cut down the two trees in the back yard the squirrels have moved on to neighbor’s yards. They don’t usually bother gardens unless there’s corn in the garden. They certainly can be the rascals of the neighborhood. I do envy their philosophy of life. No worries just have fun. Hopefully next year will bring more joy than sorrow to your bird viewing. I expect the nursery business is winding down by now. I am hoping to get three more raised beds built this week so that when the fall yard cleanup begins, I can fill the beds with a mixture of grass and leaves picked up by Chomper (the lawn mower). The two beds I built last fall were filled with this mixture as high as the bed would allow. It was three feet in the middle. In the spring I put four inches of compost on the now partially composted yard waste. It grew some of the best tomatoes and bell peppers in the neighborhood. The beds were mulched in with straw and had hardly any weeds. Next year will be the year of more preservation of harvest. This year I gave it all away. Have a great bird watching day.

cindy murphy
9/27/2010 5:29:14 AM

Hi, Michelle. That's quite the herd of animal buds you've got. We've got the two cats, who stay inside and have to yak at the birds from behind windows, and the lab, who chases the birds from the feeder when she's first let outside, but generally leaves them alone. I'm always telling her, "Quetta, you'd better not chase my birds". The birds pretty much ignore her, and go back to their feeding once she's got her initial charging of the feeder out of her system. We've got squirrels too. Notice the plural form of the pesky rodents' name. The neighborhood is overrun with them. Grrrrr! Garden Destroyers! Bird Feeder Conquerers! I can't tell you how many they've torn apart. Keith used to grease the poles....until they started jumping and knocking the feeders to the ground. I switched from sunflower seed to safflower seed a couple years ago though, and haven't had a problem with them in the feeders since; squirrels won't eat safflower seed. Now, if only I could figure a way to keep them out of the gardens. And I NEVER tell Quetta to stop chasing the squirrels.

michelle house
9/26/2010 9:22:28 PM

Ahh, wonderful as always, I really enjoyed it, and I loved the pictures. As a kid, we had birds in our yard, here, with 3 barking dogs, and a giant cat, birds don't like our yard. lol. We do however a squirrel, that I hate. lol

michelle house
9/26/2010 9:18:26 PM

Ahh, wonderful as always, I really enjoyed it, and I loved the pictures. As a kid, we had birds in our yard, here, with 3 barking dogs, and a giant cat, birds don't like our yard. lol. We do however a squirrel, that I hate. lol

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