Thursday, April 28, 2016

Puddin' says, "This is for the birds"

Published in the Highlands Newspaper 8/2018

Yes, it's all for the birds. I mean no one is constantly filling my bowl, but the bird feeder outside my favorite window has been filled over and over again. The action around the bird feeder is non-stop, with woodpeckers, titmice, bluebirds, cardinals and more clinging to the feeder and the chipmunks and squirrels scavenging any birdseed dropped on the ground. 

As long as they all hang out where I can watch them and talk to them, I don’t care how much they eat.  I lie on the couch or stand with my front paws on the window sill and watch the activity. Can anyone tell me, though, why the squirrels don’t chase the doves who eat alongside them on the ground? I mean it’s the perfect setup for a game of cat and mouse….um, I mean squirrel and dove.

"My" Windowsill

 There’s been lots of hummingbird food mixed and poured lately too.  The only way I can see that feeder outside the kitchen window is if I get on the kitchen counter, which I’m sure you know is taboo.  That’s not to say I don’t get up there; I just try to do it when no one’s looking.

The hummingbird feeder on the back deck, on the other hand, is easily viewed from the porch, and I can lie in the sun and listen for the familiar buzz of their tiny wings.

Carolina Wrens' Nest
By far, the best show this year has been put on by the Carolina Wrens. They’ve built their nest right outside of the screened porch, wedged between the screen and the chimney.  If you didn’t know better, which of course I do, you’d think it was just a pile of leaves up there.  From my favorite porch chair, I’ve watched them nest building and bringing in the groceries. 

The parents are very wary, maybe because they think I can get to the nest. I wouldn’t hurt the kids even if I could get up there…really.  Just because I grab and tear up the feathered toy Dad tosses for me doesn’t mean I’d hurt a real bird. I’d just like to play with one. You believe me, right?

The mom and dad first land somewhere on the deck and look around chirping and sometimes hissing before they make their way home. They never go directly to the nest; they always sneak up on it, and then the fun begins.  The kids start chirping, and my ears really perk up. I talk to them, but they don’t seem to understand me.

The grand finale was when the babies left the nest.  I was dozing on my chair minding my own business when I heard a huge racket. I hopped to the porch floor and saw the mom and dad and aunts and uncles all darting around chattering. One of the adults even grabbed onto the screened door, at which point I had to leap up to say hi.  I discovered that Carolina Wrens are not at all friendly, as the racket got even louder.

That’s when I spied a funny squat little thing beneath one of the deck chairs. Honestly, from a distance, it looked more like a small frog, but it was a baby.  I talked, it squeaked, the grown-ups hissed, and it was a Mexican standoff.  Except of course, that I couldn’t get out there anyway.  The tiny thing finally hopped and fluttered its way over to the edge of the deck and took off. 

I only wish I could have seen all the babies take their first steps.  No matter, it was a pretty exciting day for me—and for the birds!

Princess Puddin’ Penn resides in Georgia with her dad, her mom Kathy Manos Penn, and her canine brother Lord Banjo. Please send comments, compliments, and questions to inkpenn119@gmail.com.