Yesterday I took a little drive to see my daughter and her family (two wee grandsons!!) and that meant driving a four hour round trip, which used up a big part of the day and a half a tank of gas. It was worth every second and every drop.
Sometimes I wonder if I would survive living in a city with an hour or more commute each way to work; I'm so spoiled living in a small town where we can drive from one end to the other in ten minutes, or five if we hit all the lights just right.
Back to my week off. I made a modest to-do list to try and get some things done that have been on the back burner for too long. If I do nine-tenths of the list today, I'll have it finished . . .
One of the items on the list was to buy a finch bird feeder. The bigger birds tend to monopolize the feeder we have now, so I thought a specialized finch feeder with tiny holes for their tiny beaks might help make life more fair for the little birds.
It's not just the bigger birds who are competing for bird seed. I caught four deer eating around the old feeder earlier in the week. I've started taking it down at night and putting it out well after dawn. Literally two minutes after I hung it up that morning, I spied four big brown furry rumps bunched up together and four noses to the ground under the feeder. I suspect one of the deer had tipped the feeder over to make the seeds run out onto the ground, because she had seed all over her head and neck. Just as they finished eating, four more deer ambled into the yard and one of those cleaned the incriminating evidence off the guilty party.
I'll be taking both feeders in by the end of May at the latest, to try to avoid contributing to the spread of a finch virus which has taken a toll on purple finches, goldfinches and pine siskins in Atlantic Canada over the last ten years. I didn't know anything about finch virus until last July, when it became rampant in our province and covered by media.
Here are some of the finches found in Nova Scotia:
(all photos credited to Dwaine Oakley, found on the following blog: Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative)
American Goldfinch - this is a breeding male. The females are a more drab yellow.
Purple Finch, Male
Purple Finch, Female
Pine Siskin. From what I can see, the males and females look pretty much the same.
All of these finches are very small songbirds. The goldfinches are the most visible; in the spring before the trees leaf out, they look for all the world like tiny dabs of brilliant yellow paint on the brown and grey tree branches.
If you'd like to hear the American goldfinch song, listen here:
So one of my projects today is to fill the feeder with nyjer seed (also called niger seed or thistle) and find a place to hang it, probably at the back of our property so the finches will have some distance between them and the bigger birds.
I'm thinking of adding "buy binoculars" to my list!
What are you up to this weekend? It's Mother's Day in Canada, so we will be trying to fit in visits to both my mother and my mother-in-law, and also be home for our son's visit to his mother :)
I'll be back on Poetry Monday to wax poetic about "leaves and flowers the rain has brought" . . .
Until then, have a good weekend :)