"Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber." Proverbs 31:19 NLT

Friday, May 9, 2014

Nests of Fiber???

I have been an avid bird watcher since I met my late husband back in college in 1973. He was a senior and we met just after he had returned from an inter-term ornithology class in the Florida Keys. He was so excited about all the birds he saw and passed that excitement on to me. Some of our dates were meeting EARLY in the mornings (like 5:30) to go, yes, bird watching. We did take some kidding about that.

While we lived on the "upper 40" all those years before his death, we always had bird feeders, bird baths and bird books available for us and them, faithfully marking in our Birds of North America book any new ones we saw and when and where.

Somewhere in those years, our dear elderly neighbors (although they were probably about my current age when we met), gave us tips about feeding our avian friends. The Mrs. was also a spinner and weaver and encouraged us to put out natural fibers with which the birds might build their nests. She said bright colored yarns might enable us to see the nests up in the trees later on. We did but it didn't. :) I don't believe we ever saw any of our contributions to nests up in the trees.

Move ahead here with me some 15 or so years to last year. My second husband and I had been in our new home almost 3 years and up to that point, we had not put out any yarns for the birds since moving in. He remembered that we should be doing just that so I gathered up some hand spun corriedale yarns in about 3-4 inch lengths and some colorful Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarns that I have used to make knitted dish clothes. But it never appeared that any were taken and we definitely never saw any in nests. Actually, we never saw ANY nests. Just the babies later on.

So this year my husband decided to tackle this situation head-on. He purchased this beast (right hand pic). :)  He is trying to convince himself that things have been taken from it and we will definitely have the thrill of locating nests from afar. I lovingly pat him on the back while thinking, "I believe all the rain we've had has tamped down the fluff."  I guess we'll see...or maybe not.

Meanwhile we have had a cold and rainy spring, with little bird activity. Then all of a sudden this week, we've had all our migrating friends return back to their summer homes.

Of course, all winter we have seen the usual year round cardinals, black-capped chickadees, goldfinches [dulled in color], tufted titmice, various types of woodpeckers, both white-breasted nuthatches and the smaller red-breasted nuthatch (although I'm not sure the red-breasted nuthatch stays here all winter). But this week we've been regularly visited by breeding pairs of:
Male and Female Rose Breasted Grossbeaks
Hard to see, but 2 pairs of brightly
feathered Gold Finches

A pair of Northern Orioles eating jelly
A pair of Eastern (Rufous-sided) Towhees

Mrs. Bluebird and...
Mr. Bluebird   :)

We still have not seen the female Indigo Bunting,
though she is hard to distinguish from small
sparrows.This is a male.
And just this morning we spotted this Orchard Oriole
eating jelly, alongside Mr. Indigo Bunting.  
It has caused quite a lot of excitement around here as hubby scurries around to keep the feeders and jelly dish filled and I scurry around to get photos before they fright and fly off.  Still no signs of nests...not to mention, nests of fibers. We'll see...or maybe not.

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