Thursday, February 4, 2010

Birdfeeding in Wintertime...Memories in the Making.

I just got back from a nice, albeit short, vacation in Florida.  I'm always struck by the diversity of birds that I see at my mom's verses my own home, especially in winter.  For goodness sake, she has Painted Buntings at her feeders all winter long!! And, on a trip to the grocery store, you will likely see Sandhill Cranes in the parking lot! Lucky! 

My first exposure to bird feeding was actually through her parents, with whom I was very close, and who my daughter is named after.  My grandfather was the avid bird feeder.  He had feeders on his back porch all winter long and he'd sit and eat breakfast at the kitchen window and watch the many visitors.  He had an old Golden Guide to Birds, which I inherited when he passed away.  I've kept it in a special place because it has wonderful little handwritten notes and newspaper clippings in it that he kept, all related to birds.  It wasn't until I went to college and took my first ornithology class that I realized that my grandfather was a bona fide bird nerd, just like the rest of us.  I smile when I think of that because I believe he would have loved that title.  My grandmother was not as interested, but she continued to feed the birds long after he passed.  I think she had just as many fond memories of him sitting at that window with his cup of coffee as the rest of us did and probably couldn't bear to stop. 

My daughter now has a feeding station outside her bedroom window.  And, even though she's a toddler, she gets excited when the downy woodpecker comes to the suet feeder.  She loves the little goldfinches and chickadees too.  I keep a list of our visitors hanging on a tack next to her window, kind of a house list so to speak.  And Grandpa's bird guide is in the top drawer of her dresser waiting for her to be old enough to carefully flip through the worn pages and pick out what birds are at her feeders now as compared to what he was seeing way back when. 

We'll probably always feed birds at our house.  And I hope my daughter has just as many fond memories of those birds and our time together as I do of my mom and my grandparents.

February is National Birdfeeding Month

February 12-15th is the Great Backyard Bird Count.