Monday, June 8, 2009

going to the birds

I live "in town"... now granted, it's a small rural town (population 2600), but we live on one of the two main streets that intersect the town.  In spite of that, I have seen a few awesome things in the past 24 hours.

Countrymouse and I were sitting in the yard after a round of yard work yesterday afternoon when we spotted a Bald Eagle flying over our yard.

In 1940 Congress passed the Eagle Protection Act because there was concern the Bald Eagle would become extinct.  When we were in elementary school, Congress went a step further and passed the Endangered Species Act of 1973. We both grew up thinking of the Bald Eagle as this rare and never-seen bird. (The Bald Eagle has made a strong comeback and was removed from the endangered species list in June 2007.)  In fact, I can remember going to the Bronx Zoo as a child and seeing the Bald Eagle display. These were the only Eagles I had ever seen until moving to Maryland. I have seen other Eagles over the years, but I was especially tickled to have seen one above my yard. (And truth be told, I still have a little bit of that 10 year old in me that is shocked to actually see one.)

Earlier this afternoon I walked out on the front porch to check on the new front steps project and was amazed to see a Hummingbird feeding on one of my Hibiscus plants. Based on where I live, my guess is it was a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

I have never seen a Hummingbird at this house before. Needless to say, I was excited. I am always reading that Hummingbirds are easy to attract and you can even get them to eat out of your hand. But the truth is, everyone I ever speak to never has any luck. A Saturday morning out on your local yard sale circuit will produce a nice collection of Hummingbird feeders.  Seems like everyone starts out thinking it's a good idea but quickly looses hope.  I know.. I've been there.

Here are some pointers to help attract Hummingbirds at your house.

Me, I am going to hope I see my little Hummingbird come back for seconds.

Once I got too close to the Hummingbird, he flew away.  I hung out on the porch for a couple of minutes, hoping he'd return, but he didn't.  I wondered if I went inside and looked through the window, he'd come back.  He didn't.  As I was peering out the window, the Robin's nest in my Dogwood tree caught my eye.

I knew there was a nest in there, but I couldn't see it from the ground or even while standing on the porch.  The vantage point from my living room window was perfect, however.  I watched the mother Robin feed two of her chicks.  A few minutes later the father returned to the nest with more food.  A happy Robin family!

This is the second Robin's nest I've seen this spring.  Robin's typically have 2-3 broods each season and are one of the earliest birds to breed each season.  We have lots of Robin's around here, but I really enjoyed just watching them interact.

I don't always appreciate where I live, but times like this brings the wonders of small town living rushing to the forefront of my mind.  These birds were each different and unique and my seeing them was a happy accident each time.  I consider each one a tiny little blessing.

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