Jul 31, 2007

Birds, Blooms, and Butterflies

As much as I love wildlife I've never been a serious bird watcher. Sure, I have the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds just as I have a reference book for nearly every type of animal I've even half considered painting. But I never actually did much to attract or observe real birds before. It's not that I don't like birds. I've just been more focused on large mammals such as deer. Recently, however, I've become more interested in birds and have discovered the joy of observing the beautiful little creatures since I installed a bird feeder and a bird bath in my backyard. I've been delighted to get quite a few visitors to my feeder in a fairly short time since its installation.

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, at least in the area where I live, the most common visitors to the feeder (of sunflower seeds) are the black-capped chickadee and the house finch. The house finch has shown up in both the pink and orange variety. We also get the occasional chestnut-backed chickadee, robin, dark-eyed junco, and a towhee (I have yet to determine if it's the spotted or rufous-sided).

Chickadees are by far my favorites. They are just so darn adorable! I also love sitting outside in the morning sun with my dog and a cup of coffee, listening to them sing. What could be more relaxing?

The cute little chickadees are not always so pleasant though. They seem to be the fussiest and messiest of all the birds at the feeder. They toss out 10 seeds for every one they decide is acceptable enough to eat. LOL Oh well, that's all right. The finches and juncos don't seem to mind cleaning up the tossed seeds off the ground. And I also have a nice garden of sunflowers growing now too. :)

Since I've become more interested in birds I've recently discovered a very nice magazine for anyone interested in attracting birds and other fun critters to their gardens. It's called Birds & Booms and has some wonderful images of birds and butterflies as well as tips on how to select and grow flowers that attract them. Definitely worth checking out.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention I also had a rare visitor to the feeder one day, a goldfinch! I'll end this with a the photo I managed to snap of him before he ended his very short visit. Isn't he cute!? I think I'll need to paint some birds soon.

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