Pleasurable Pursuits

Two of the shepherd’s hooks that hold birdfeeders are situated in good view of the windows of our living room and the addition that joined the main house to the garage. They are placed in the area of the garden that is referred to as the daylily hill. Planted there, in addition to the daylilies are daffodils, Autumn Joy sedums, asiatic lilies, ferns, rudbeckias, echinaceas and oriental poppies, among others. During the winter, these perennials are cut down to showcase the birdfeeders and the ground below where the scavengers graze on the dropped seed from above. The earth is softened from the freeze and thaw cycle during the cold months and the poles tend to lean with the weight of the filled feeders and need to be moved around the hill for better stability. Cement blocks hold the pole’s horizontal bars in place. Today the feeders happened to be positioned fairly close together. It was a serendipitous move.

Why this obvious placement for optimal bird watching and bird photographing did not occur to one sooner, who can tell? There are criteria for where the poles can be stuck, such as no plants growing there, and that is getting to be a rare spot on the daylily hill as more plants seem to find a home there each year. The sunflower seed shells contain a chemical that inhibits growth of some plants also. Quite a pile of this debris is not good for whatever is growing beneath it so the poles need to be moved for that reason also. Then the slope issue has to be dealt with, the ground will not hold if the angle of the slope is too great. The final consideration is the squirrels. It has been read that the feeders need to be more than ten feet from a tree or jumping position, in an effort to at the least make it more difficult for them to leap onto the feeders. With all these things to think about, the view from inside the house is sometimes forgotten. There is also a feeder by the pond outside the ten foot glass doors in our bedroom. The view of the garden plus birds was always in the design plan. Every window needs the best view possible.

We have no shortage of birds that visit the feeders regularly. Cardinals are the most numerous, and are fun to watch backed by the dull colors of winter, even their beaks are colorful.

See how the feeders being so close to each other enables the viewers to see more birds in one frame? No more trying to look two or more places at once. This is a big improvement and will make future bird counting attemps much easier.

A favorite customer, the red bellied woodpecker, he/she is the largest of the feeder feeders.

We can now watch several birds having dinner at once, very enjoyable on a chilly day.

The woodpecker is the only bird undaunted by the aggressive cardinals. He gets to sit on the wire feeder filled with the peanut suet nuggets and feast to his heart’s content. The cardinals must settle for sunflower seed or wait until he is done and flies off into the trees for them to be able to partake of the goodies.

Ah, he is gone. Ms. Cardinal swoops in, and the smaller titmouse can safely eat from the acorn feeder filled with more sunflower seed. They obediently follow the pecking order here.

This wire feeder is the most popular destination for the gourmets that seek the nuggets. New this year, the feeder was very inexpensive, however the bags of nuggets to keep it filled have set us back a pretty penny.

Amid the daffodil tips, a white throated sparrow pecks among the fallen seed. These birds blend in completely with the mulch. It is a guess as to whether this bird is even in the view finder when trying to take its picture, we were lucky this once to get him somewhat in focus. They don’t stay still in one place for more than a moment.

Gardening was done outside today in addition to the fun with birds. A dead white evergreen azalea was replaced with a deciduous exbury azalea, daffodils were divided and replanted to fill in bare spots, grasses were also divided and replanted to accomplish the same task, filling in empty squares in the beds. General gardening jobs of the late winter type were checked off the the to do list, fine tuning in preparation for the big show that is soon coming, still very aware of the birds and their antics, this day could be called a pleasurable pursuit of the passions in one’s existence.

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36 Responses to Pleasurable Pursuits

  1. heirloomgardener says:

    How wonderful to be outside again. I, too, enjoy the birds, especially how much they chatter as the weather warms.

    Heirloom Gardener

  2. kate says:

    I so enjoyed reading your post this morning. Your deep love and enjoyment of birds comes through so clearly – in how you’ve placed the feeders and in your photographs. It was fun to hear about the pecking order.

    It sounds as if you are getting lots of gardening done too! Is the new Azalea white flowered too?

  3. Nancy J. Bond says:

    What a bevy of beautiful birds that grace your feeders! The cardinals are so stunning — my parents have had a stray one or two at their feeder over the years, but I’ve never had one. Gorgeous!

  4. Frances says:

    Heirloom Gardener…The birds and later on the butterflies are as enjoyable a part of the garden as the flowers. Glad you were able to get out also, it’s good for the soul.

    Kate…Your posts have the same effect on me, soothing and gentle. The new azalea is called ‘Golden Lights’, a dark yellow it is assumed.

    Nancy J. Bond…Thanks and welcome. We are blessed with cardinals, for sure.

  5. Dave says:

    It sure can be entertaining to watch those birds. We have a mockingbird that just isn’t too keen on sharing his territory with the other birds. The other birds still try though. I need to get a couple of those hooks to move the feeders off the backporch.

  6. gintoino says:

    What can I say? Beautiful.
    The cardinals are absolutely amazing! We have nothing like that over here.

  7. Gail says:

    So glad I stopped by. I don’t know which birds I like the best…The woodpeckers are so special, but those
    cardinals all dressed up in their finery are pretty wonderful, too.


  8. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    Cardinals are so photogenic. I had two males perch near each other close to the patio door. Of course, the camera battery died just then. Sigh… Great bird shots.

  9. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Frances, your new set-up looks like it is going to work just great. AND you get to plant things. I get all twitchie just reading about your early spring projects. 🙂 The snow is trying to melt here today. I can’t wait for more spring-like weather.

  10. Frances says:

    Dave…Our mockingbirds go somewhere else for the winter, but they are fiesty, also. The hooks let you move the feeders and the mess gets spread around.

    Gintonio…Thanks. The cardinals are special to us also.

    Gail…Thanks. They are really all favorites here.

    MMD…Those darn camera batteries. Thanks.

  11. Frances says:

    Lisa…Sorry this reply is out of order, I get button clicking and out of control sometimes, (lots of times). Your day in the sun is coming, and you will enjoy it so very much after the winter you guys have had!

  12. Sherry at the Zoo says:

    What beautiful pictures. I love the cardinals. So much to consider when choosing a spot for your bird feeder!

  13. Kylee says:

    You’ve captured some wonderful shots of some beautiful birds!

  14. Pam/Digging says:

    Cardinals are so cheering to see. And the woodpecker is cool too. They stand out so much better in the winter, don’t they?

  15. rusty in miami says:

    I am amazed at the number of Cardinals that come to your feeders. We don’t get many down here. We do have many red-bellied woodpeckers, they can be very possessive.

  16. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    I have my feeders spread out right now because of the bully starlings. I like the idea of having all feeders together so you can see everything at one time.

    Sounds like you are already busy in the yard. Good for you!

  17. Frances says:

    Sherry…Thanks. The feeders are moved regularly due to the debris underneath, but they will be together from now on, another criteria to follow!

    Kylee…Thanks, the birds make good subjects.

    Pam…You are so right, they are not as noticeable when the flowers are blooming.

    Rusty…We love the woodpeckers, the rat tat tat in the tree tops lets us know they are around.

    Robin’s Nesting Place…Thanks. We have worked outside the last two days, but that is over for now, cold front with rain turning to snow coming in, raining with thunder and lightning right now.

  18. shirl says:

    Hi there, Frances 🙂

    Great photos! I love to see the birds in your garden especially when you enjoy seeing them so much yourself 😀

    I have a mix of feeders together and apart and it is wonderful to see the birds fly from one to the other. I have mine situated beside small trees and an established bamboo. I don’t have plants below and that way I can hoe the mess. I also move my feeders around sometimes too but the birds take a while to get used to their new route from inside my hedge 😀

    Great to hear about you getting a few jobs done in the garden too – that sounded like a very nice day for you! I have some catching up to do too both in my garden and visiting other blogs. I have missed so much going on in yours which I intend catching up on later today! I know you have been posting on colour and I’m off to look there next! I finally got my colour post up very late last night and its ‘colourful’ 😀

  19. Frances says:

    Shirl…Thanks, hope you were able to catch up on your reading ;-> It helps to have several feeders as some of the birds are not good at sharing. I am behind on reading blogs also but will be sure and check out your colour post!

  20. Matron says:

    That’s amazing. I just can’t imagine having something like that cardinal in my back garden – We have nothing like that over here. Wow!

  21. Frances says:

    Matron…Thanks and welcome. The cardinals are unique in the bird world, I guess.

  22. Diana says:

    Frances – your bird photos are so sharp and crisp, you must have been so still go get them. Your feeders look like restaurant row for the birds. And the flowers sound beautiful – you’ll have to bring us back there to see when it’s all in bloom. So, being a bird lover, too, I’m curious if you talk to your birds? We have at least 1 cardinal couple who have been with us for years, and I talk to them all the time. It’s as though they are our neighbors! Thanks for making me smile.

  23. Frances, says:

    Diana…Thanks. You’ve got me thinking about talking to the birds, it can be said that we speak when spoken to. The chickadees and wrens like to complain at us when we interfere with their feeding by working nearby in the garden, so it is explained to them that we are friend, not foe. The camera was on a small tripod on the windowsill with the window opened, I could never hold still without it. When things really start blooming around here, there will be pix posted, you can be sure.

  24. Justin says:

    ” Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh how beatiful’ and sitting in the shade. “
    – Rudyard Kipling


  25. Annie in Austin says:

    Lovely post, Frances – we get cardinals here [just a couple at a time] and I’m always happy to see them.

    Apparently one needs to feed the birds to get great bird photos – guess I’ll stick to giving the winged ones water and admiring the photos of birds on blogs like yours ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  26. Frances, says:

    Justin…Welcome. Like the quote, so true. Glad you are enjoying the gardens online.

    Annie…Thanks. Even with the feeders, the birds are like children, hard to get them to be still.

  27. Marie says:

    Cardinals are beautiful birds! We don’t have these birds in Norway.

  28. Frances, says:

    Marie…Thanks. I was surprised by the number of comments from those who have no cardinals, although there are many european birds we have never seen also.

  29. Gardener of La Mancha says:

    Alas, no cardinals in northern CA either.

  30. Frances, says:

    Gardener of La Mancha…That is a shame. I need to study the bird books to see where our regular birds live.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  31. semi says:

    Those pics are wonderful! I love your cardinals. Mostly wrens and goldfinches are at my feeders. Love semi

  32. Frances, says:

    semi…Thanks, wrens are goldfinches are among my favorite birds!love.

  33. chuck b. says:

    I recently bought the Peterson Guide (as a result of your counsel) and I’ve been poring through it nightly. 2008 will be the year I do birds.

    What an array of visitors you have in your garden… a testament to your gardening, no doubt! 🙂

    You divided the daffodils in February?

  34. Frances, says:

    chuck b…Thanks. The Peterson books have helped tremendously with bird ID. They are very basic and easy to use when the birds are being viewed and you are trying to find the name of a new one. Photos really help, the birds are not still for long, to see those bars and stripes. I divide the daffs early to fill in bare spots, the only time you can see where those spots are. The bulbs are quite tough if you get them before they get too tall. It goes against the book, but works here. I do it with all the spring bulbs.

  35. chuck b. says:

    Thanks, I love to hear contrarian bulb wisdom. There’s so much “must” and “must not” with bulbs. Really wears me out. Annie in Austin puts all her forced bulbs in the ground after they’re done for the year and she says that works out fine. They all come back later on.

  36. Frances, says:

    chuck b…We don’t want to wear you out now. Some musts don’t make sense here, like dividing bulbs in the fall, you don’t know where they are! Good for Annie, I will have to try that.

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