“The woods would be quiet if no bird sang but the one that sang best.”

The morning is cloudy and was rainy earlier but it was a small rain, droplets. I would moan and groan about the sunless world in which I live except this morning was different. Over the sound of the rain I could hear birds singing. They were greeting the morning, and rain didn’t matter: it was the joy of the morning.

I stood at the kitchen window and watched the flicker pecking at suet in the feeder I bought just for him. A bird I don’t know waited its turn. I’ll look it up later in my bird book. One goldfinch was bright with color, the first to break out of winter drab. I noticed the thistle feeder is empty. I’ve had more goldfinches than ever, sometimes seven or eight at the same time, and thistle is a favorite of theirs. The chickadees are few, and I miss them. They, the titmice and nuthatches are the sunflower seed birds. I have three different feeders for them. The sole woodpecker is either at the suet in the small feeder or tapping a pine tree. The small suet feeder looks like a house. It’s kind of cool and the birds grab on upside down.

I don’t remember people having bird feeders in their yards when I will little. The few times we went to Boston in the warmer weather, I remember feeding the pigeons and the ducks at the Public Garden. I also remember feeding the squirrels. That was before their spawn days. I thought it was really neat to see them so up-close. Pigeons are still fun to watch. Drop a few pieces of bread and they all move to the same spot, pushing and shoving and even taking to the air. They are very noisy birds. I always feel bad about pigeons. They’re nobody’s favorite bird. They have squat bodies and are dull in color. Pigeons seem to hang around in large numbers so the odds of getting bread are slim. I always try to throw some to the back of the pack which then makes all them turn just about at the same time and they all squawk about the inconvenience.

My mother used to get pigeons at her feeders, city birds we’d call them. It frustrated her to no end. She wanted cute little birds like chickadees, but, instead, she’d get sparrows, almost as common as the pigeons. The crows dropped by often because my mother was always throwing out something for them. “Save it for the crows,” she’d tell us. Once she got a seagull. That was a puzzler. She called to have me guess the bird which had visited. I didn’t guess seagull. That’s one bird which has never ever stopped at my feeders. I guess my mother’s was a country cousin of sorts visiting its city cousins. She never saw another seagull in her yard.

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25 Comments on ““The woods would be quiet if no bird sang but the one that sang best.””

  1. im6 Says:

    Good morning!

    • im6,
      This is perfect for today. The sun is even breaking through the clouds right this very minute. I have 6 stops to make, and I’ll be glad to be out today. I’ll be that crazy woman driving with a grin on her face.


  2. Hedley Says:

    It’s Maundy Thursday or, for our friend, Christer, skärtorsdagen. In the old country the Monarch hands out alms in the form on maundy money, a specially minted coinage. While up in Christer land, there are, by rumor, witches running around asking for candy and stuff – sounds a bit like another event here in the USofA

    Our Prince will be spending the weekend with us. There are eggs to be colored, a hunt to be set up, services early on Sunday morning, and, of course, some effort by the Easter Bunny. Does the basket go in front of the fireplace like some discount Father Christmas ? is it there first thing on Sunday morning like the bunny came down the chimney ? Is the EB really a B- Santa Claus ?

    • My Dear Hedley,
      I do believe it is indeed a B- Santa Claus. Though we did get some toys in our Easter Baskets, the anticipation was easily contained. There were no lights, no tree and no stocking. The Easter Bunny left ours at the foots of our beds as he hopped through the house. The coloring of eggs, though, was fun, and I did enjoy the hunt the next morning.

      I’m sure The Prince will love all the festivities. You have all the Easter bases covered. I’m betting he is just as excited about staying at your house as he is about getting an Easter basket!

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I had a similar morning. The feeders are half full. I’ve got sparrows, chickadees, titmice, juncoes, a couple of blue jays and a cardinal. There’s a flicker out there somewhere, too. And spawns. And a woodchuck. I’ve never had a seagull but they fly over all the time.
    I like pigeons. They’re fascinating when you start looking at their biology and homing instincts etc. I suspect that pigeons would give up flying at the drop of a hat if they didn’t have to get away from things that eat them. City pigeons hardly ever bother to fly out of anyone’s way.
    I spent a couple of hours slogging through the swamp trying to catch my neighbors’ effing dog. He used to get loose a lot but this is the first time I’ve seen him in a long time. I feel bad for him because his owners don’t give a rat’s nether end about what happens to him. I’m totally p’d off that my town pays an animal control officer who is never available. The automated message said that if I needed to speak to the ACO, I could try again tomorrow. Seriously?
    Rant over. 🙂
    It’s pretty grey and damp out there now but it’s not too cold. Great weather for swamp stomping. 😀
    Enjoy the day.

    • Hi Caryn,
      I forgot about juncoes. They used to drop by, but I haven’t seen one in a while. I too hear the seagulls as they circle overhead.

      I always wondered why I never saw a pigeon baby bird. I guess I need to be in the city where they roost. I haven’t ever look at them beyond the shallow, never at their biology. Maybe I need to do that to appreciate them better.

      I don’t blame you for that rant. I’d be right along with you, and I hate it when dogs aren’t a part of the family. When Gracie used to jump the fence, I’d marshall the whole neighbor. She never came to me but did go to the first neighbor she saw.

      I did a few errands: 4 out of 6. I treated myself to a wonderful sandwich for lunch and took Gracie to the dump. I left her in the car while I got her Easter presents, but she still tried to get at the bag. My back has been bad all week so I was glad the guys at the dump grabbed the bags for me.

      Now I rest!!

      Have a great evening!!

  4. Nan Says:

    I am actually quite fond of pigeons, and fonder still of their cousin, the mourning dove. The first birds we ever fed were on a little ‘balcony’ off our Newbury St. apartment, back before it got trendy and when there were two health food stores on the street. :<)

    • Nan,
      I buy seeds for my mourning doves. They are ground feeders so I spread out mixed seed for them. I love their cooing and think the seed is a fair trade.

      Your balcony birds are as neat as my birds. They just happen to be different.

  5. olof1 Says:

    We have a few couple of city pigeons nesting here during summer and I do like them but they are very shy here and hard to come close, very different from those living in the towns all the time.

    I used to feed the seagulls when I lived in the city, that is until someone saw me 🙂 After that they put up big signs that it was strictly forbidden to feed them 🙂 🙂 🙂 But the house owner didn’t like us feeding any birds since the spilled seeds attracted mice and rats. I’ve never seen any tracks of either mice or rats in the snow here and we must have lots of them after all.

    Sunny here once again but now we’ll get a couple of days with clouds but the sun will come back alreadyb on Sunday they say. They also say spring won’t arrive until late in April here and they are usuallyv right when it comes to those kinds of predictions 🙂

    Happy Easter!

    • Christer,
      I have never seen a pigeon nest or a baby pigeon. The other birds bring their babies out so I get to see them, but I have always wondered about a baby pigeons.

      Kids love to feed the seagulls at the beach. At a restaurant on the water I like, the gulls take French fries right out of the kids’ hands, and the kids laugh every time.

      I wouldn’t care if the mice hate the seed because it would mean the mouse was outside and not in my house.

      The sun was here for only the shortest time. The clouds rolled right back in, but it is fairly warm.

      Some days I wonder what is taking spring so darn long!

      • Caryn Says:

        You don’t see baby pigeons because by the time they leave the nest they look just like the adults except that the babies have dark eyes instead of red or orange and the skin at the base of the bill is grey instead of white.

  6. katry Says:

    Thanks, Caryn
    I have probably seen some and didn’t realize.

  7. Bob Says:

    Unfortunately, pidgins in the parks in big cities like Boston and New York are a health hazard and they make a huge mess pooping everywhere. There is no natural food nor enemies in the cities except what people feed them so they don’t leave town and multiply like rats. If people stopped feeding them they would go elsewhere and then have natural enemies which would reduce their population. Ducks are another issue in big cities. Feeding them is also a health hazard since they poop everywhere and they can be quite mean and attack people while they are feeding on the stuff we throw out to them. It’s a shame that big cities don’t offer a bounty on pidgins and have open days when people can bring their shot guns and make a few dollars. You were lucky that you didn’t contract viral meningitis or some other deadly disease as a kid while feeding these filthy birds.

    Spring is back today with wonderful temperatures in the 70s, clear skies and light winds. Tomorrow will be cloudy with rain forecast for the weekend.

    • katry Says:

      Many tourists see them as part of city life. Look at Trafalgar Square in England where the tourists go to feed the pigeons. They even sell seeds to feed the birds.

      You got me curious. I know squirrels carry as any or even more diseases as rats, but I didn’t now about pigeons so I did some hunting. Come to find out pigeons pose no threat to the public or to your health.

      “Many websites list the diseases recorded in feral pigeons. How very scary. But let’s put this in context – many more diseases are known in people and their pets. Moreover, all animals carry diseases: the key issue is how often they transfer to humans, and there is little evidence of this happening with feral pigeons. Plus, domestic pigeons often come into contact with feral pigeons but stay perfectly healthy. In other words, feral pigeons simply do not pose a significant health risk. It’s a non-issue.” Harris, S. (2010). BBC Wildlife magazine 28 (10): 52-57 Looks like it’s okay to feed the pigeons.

      I’ve seen geese attack people. My nephew when he was young was chased by one. That was one scared little kid, and i didn’t blame him. That goose wouldn’t give up the chase.

      I love days in the low 70’s. They are my favorites. Here they are a long way off. The 40’s are the average temps this time of year here.

      • Bob Says:

        Thanks for researching pidgins and human diseases. I had been misinformed by the NYC health department when I was a teenager for years. They told people to stop feeding them and they would leave the city. However, they still poop everywhere on monuments, statues and buildings and the acid in their droppings destroys property. Their ambiance to the city doesn’t offset the cost of cleaning up their droppings.

        As for ducks, my brother in law used to live on a small pond in the Tampa area and he built a small dock. It attracted ducks by the dozens and they were not only ornery, they were down right mean. His neighbor used to feed them. Oh, and they pooped loose, smelly, disgusting feces everywhere on the dock, on his deck, on the grass in the back yard and on his lawn furniture. Luckily he had a screened in pool area which kept the quacking critters out of his pool and off his patio. They were noisy and dirty. He tried everything to get rid of them including rat shot. It didn’t work. Finally, the neighbor moved or died, I can’t remember which, and they left when there was no food around.

      • katry Says:

        I totally agree with the mess their poop makes. I even have that problem on my deck rail. I keep a bucket and a sponge so I can clean the deck.

        While sitting at the table on the deck, it is really neat to have the birds so close so we can watch them.

        The worst of all problems have been the Canada geese. They settled on the ball-field the JV used, and the field was a mess with all the bird poop. The school department tried everything to get rid of them; my favorite was they bought real looking Canada geese which seemed dead. They threw them all over the field to scare off the other geese, a look what can happen to you thing. It actually worked for a while.

  8. Vintage Spins Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Came across this song and immediately thought of you and your critters:



  9. Bert van Lokhorst Says:

    Squirrels are on to us. Familiarity breeds contempt. We try to be closer with this cuddly animal. Once we succeed they lose all respect for those funny animals who spill their food so clumsily. We are obviously the weaker link. Serves us right.
    I don’t see starlings in my garden. I’d like to though, because they are pretty and walk so funny.
    There are city pigeons and wood pigeons visiting. They compare as trucks to cars.
    In general I don’t envy birds. It is still very cold, certainly for the time of the year, and on top of that there are cats.
    Looking from the inside out I think I got the better deal.

  10. MT C Says:

    Love to hear the chickadees and would attract them to the back yard by smearing peanut butter on the sides of the old beech back there. They preferred the chunky and I did a side by side test to prove it to my mother. She liked the smooth and either was ok with me. Until I did the ‘test’. Then it was chunky for me too.

    Here we don’t have too much for birds, but they do migrate through. Not much in the desert to entice them to stay. We see turtle doves mostly in the spring and fall as they travel between the inland area of Asia and northern Africa. Since there are no trees or power wires/poles in the cities, they roost on window ledges. Our kitchen window seems to be a favorite as it is pebbled glass and they can’t see in. Izzy says that they have had several chicks on the ledge also. Their coo coo-ings as the sun rises are a welcome treat.

    As for the pigeons, they are year round up in Kuwait City. Certainly pesky too as they are mostly ignored by the folks here. They apparently ate much good to eat either, as they aren’t in the pet market either like the quail and rabbits are.

    No squirrels though and its difficult to find anyone here (except Europeans and Americans) who know what they are. Perhaps you should find a nice spot in Asia to settle in. No squirrels and close to Africa! I would suggest the mountain areas of the Philippines where the air is cool and fresh and not much in the way of snow except above 5500 ft. Lots of birds, lots of morning songs. Chickadees too!


    • Carl,’
      I’m a chunky fan too. I love the taste of the roasted peanuts. Here the chickadees love the sunflower seeds. I watched a few of them this morning.

      I never saw many birds in Africa where I lived. It was far too dry most of the year. I saw mostly vultures, the ugliest of birds. They’d walk around the family compounds hoping to find scraps of anything. Never saw pigeons there or I don’t remember seeing them.

      I don’t know of anyone who eats pigeons, quail and rabbit but never pigeon. They are like the bottom feeders of the earth world.

      I love your description of the mountain area. It sounds perfect even if there were squirrels. I’d love cool and fresh air and all those morning songs.

      I went to your blog and it wasn’t there any more. Do you have a new address I can add to my links?

      Happy Easter, Carl.

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