Monday, January 15, 2007

Cheep, Cheap Cafe

The critters and birds provided lots of entertainment this summer.

We seem to have acquired a juvenile Raccoon. He arrives every night around midnight.
He grunts and woofs and shakes the tree. The first time I thought there must be a family, there was so
much ruckus and limb movement, but it's just one little guy. He perches in the tree, looks at us, and
then proceeds to try to eat anything he can get out of the bird feeders. I hesitate to feed him something
substantial, as I'm not looking to make him a regular. In fact, I want him to GO AWAY!

He came last night while I was sleeping, and broke one feeder and then tore both feeders out of the tree,
onto the ground, scattering seeds everywhere. I hustled down first thing this morning to sweep off the
porch of the woman beneath us. She has been complaining about the amount of seeds.
I explained about the raccoon and the fledgling birds, hoping she would soften. Time will tell.

I had already altered the birdfeeders to discourage our chipmunk. He's a little one, and I think he's
made his home in my woodpile. It's entertaining to set out a pile of black sunflower seeds and watch him
imitate a vacuum as he hoovers a teaspoon full at a time into his cheeks. He'll use his little paw to stuff the
last one in, and away he goes. He'll come back until the pile is gone. Then one day I watched him jump
into the tree and run up the branch to the bird feeder. He was laying in the tray, scooping seeds into his
mouth, and onto the ground. I had to take the trays off. Now the birds have to use the perch, and spill
quite a bit of seed. Oh well. More sweeping to keep the peace I suppose.

Several of the birds that use our feeders reproduced and I'm watching the fledgling blue jays grow
their head feathers. They were so comical looking. Adult size bodies, and tiny little pin heads!
They cry and squak something awful. Mom and Dad have quit tending to their needs, and the pair
of adolescents let me know when the food supply has dwindled.

The Cardinals had two successful nestings. The first batch produced a male and a female. They are both
smaller than the adults, and are just starting to grow their crest. The second batch produced at least one male,
that is just starting to get his red feathers. It took me awhile to figure out what he was, but now I want to coax
him into my hand and make him my pet. Loren tells me to dream on!

As the season begins to change we're getting more of a variety of birds. We had a pair of downy woodpeckers,
that gave the balcony a little rat-a-tat-tat after they ate. It sounded just like Woody Woodpecker.

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