Cool Birds!

When I was at my folks’ place for Thanksgiving, I got to see my dad’s bird-feeding setup. Let me tell you, this man knows his birds and how to feed them.

There are lots of the regular sorts of birds you’d expect to see in the average Minnesota backyard – finches, chickadees, jays, crows, grackles, sparrows, etc. But my folks also get a few other really cool birds in their yard.

The first: there’s some kind of hawk living in the area. Among other things, it eats other birds. A couple of years ago I saw that happen outside of the bathroom. It was gross, but fascinating.

The second: there are 4 types of woodpeckers! The diminutive Downy, the huge Hairy, the Red-Bellied (which really has a red head and not much red on the body at all, but the name Red-Headed was already taken), and the COOLEST of all: the Pileated! The pileated woodpecker that lives in the neighborhood dropped by a few times and I tried to take some photos. Rather than show you those (which aren’t very good) I thought I’d show you some better ones from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds Guide.

The best part of the bird-watching and bird-feeding extravaganza isn’t the birds, though. It’s the squirrel-proofing that goes on. My favorite is the bird feeder that has a battery-operated spinner on the bottom that only gets activated when heavy things (like squirrels and crows) sit on it. The only squirrel who attempted it while we were there got QUITE the ride. Fortunately, he let go on the out-spin, so he didn’t get flung into the deck. He sat on the ground for a bit, staring the way little kids do after they get off their first Tilt-a-Whirl ride. Finally, he staggered away and crawled up a tree. Bad though it may be of us to laugh as hard as we did, we couldn’t help it.

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