Saturday, February 1, 2014

February is National Bird Feeding Month

There are two schools of thought regarding feeding birds . . .

1) You're doing something humane and wonderful for charming little creatures who may have a tough go of it in winter...

or . . .

2) By putting out birdseed you're encouraging birds to flock in and become bait for hungry feline predators and/or various and sundry hawks.

There's also the potential for luring unwelcome rodents into your yard, but I'll say no more about that...

Lately we've had a sharp-shinned hawk lurking about, and based on seeing a couple piles of feathers, he's been randomly successful in snagging a meal. I've watched him a couple of times and (perhaps like lions) he misses way more often than he's successful.

And cats? Well, we've had a mountain lion walk through our yard at least twice this past year (I've not seen it -- my next-door neighbor has found prints), thus cats are not as numerous as they've been in the past.

So yes, we put out seed. Not only in feeders, but scattered on the ground, well within scurrying distance of protective cover.

How about you? Are you a bird feeder? Then February is a particularly opportune time to celebrate this activity, and how wonderful that it's a national celebration and people from coast to coast are feeding and admiring our feathery friends.

Oh, and the picture? I have a rubber stamp of a chickadee, so I made an impression and then hand-painted it, then photographed it. The background is a combination of a book cover and a piece of hand-painted paper. The Japanese stamps are Japanese stamps . . .

©Carol Leigh

If you're a birder and you care, birds we generally see in our yard are: Oregon juncos, Steller jays, chestnut-backed chickadees, red-shafted flickers, hermit thrushes, varied thrushes, robins, turtledoves, mourning doves, band-tailed pigeons, black-headed grosbeaks, evening grosbeaks, Anna's and rufous hummingbirds, spotted towhees, crows, occasional starlings, mountain quail, occasional cedar waxwings, and (grrr) occasional sharp-shinned hawks.

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