The water in the bird bath is well frozen this morning in our Indianapolis back yard, this in spite the battery-powered ‘bubbler’ I installed as a vacation task this week. Somewhere in the house there lurks a birdbath heater that I bought in the summer in ant-like preparation for winter and then inserted into some perfect space with squirrel-like absence of a record. It’ll turn up.
Meanwhile, above the water’s surface, my feeders are a frenzy of activity. The good folks at Wild Birds Unlimited say that many people are commenting on the numbers and tameness of the Redbreasted Nuthatches that are with us this year. Apparently there’s been a mass egress from Canada. The more speculative among them ascribe their tameness to the fact that ‘there aren’t many people in Canada’. That sounds like a bit of a stretch. I countered that maybe they’re unafraid of us because Canadians are so nice. Also a stretch.
They are nice, though. Until you must travel outside of North America with them and whince while they clarify at every opportunity that they are not Americans.
But we were talking about birds. And those wonderful Canadians who sent us a bumper crop of these little guys who will actually stay at the feeder while I refill it.
I’m had a Redbellied Woodpecker this morning.
The conundrum that I can’t resolve (and only two more days of vacation left!) is what these sparrows are that are flocking to both my seed feeder and my saffron seed. I am just about to conclude that they are House Sparrows, for I can’t find any distinguishing marks through my pathetic little set of binoculars and my underdeveloped sensitivity to color that would lead me to any other conclusion.
A woven ‘roosting hut’ I picked up at the preposterously helpful Ace Hardware Store on Westfield Road is now seeing action as a place for cold birds to seek a bit of respite and relative warmth. I haven’t yet worked out which ones are going in there.
One of the resident psychologists at the aforementioned Ace Hardware Store believes I am capable of installing the pole of my Purple Martin House in our yard this week all by myself. I left that visit to this favorite old-style retail establishment equipped with everything a man needs to dig a hole, put up a straight birdhouse pole, and then do the right stuff in the remaining space to make it stay standing.
I’m dubious. But this must be done.