Earlier this month, I was sitting in the lunchroom trying to think of something to add to the usual lunchtime banter. “Oh, check this out! I had some yellow finches at my new feeder!” I excitedly showed the video from my phone of four birds happily enjoying the seeds out on my back deck. “So now you’re that person who takes movies of her bird feeder?” my friend jokingly asked. Wow, did I suddenly feel old.
I don’t know why taking movies of my bird feeder classified me as the old person in the room. I have always liked birds. My grandma was an avid bird watcher and had many feeders in her backyard, along with her “Pocket Guide to Birds” book and binoculars next to the window. I’m not that bad yet. But I have fond memories of visiting my grandma in Vicksburg, Michigan, and sharing her love of birds. She would tell me about how blue jays are the “bullies of the backyard feeder.” I always enjoyed watching her yell “Shoo!” at those pretty birds.
For the last few years, we’ve always had some sort of feeder in our yard. I half-heartedly filled them with whatever birdseed I found in the garage. It was usually the same stuff I threw in the chicken coop. However, this year, I became interested in getting more serious about my bird attraction at my home outside of Charlevoix. I ordered an oriole feeder and then read an article about how to attract them (with oranges). And what not to feed them (grape jelly—contrary to popular belief). I had already used a gift certificate to buy a cute yellow finch feeder to replace the thistle seed socks I hung around the yard last winter. I just love yellow finches. They are probably my favorite bird. That feeder is on my deck railing, hanging to the outside of the deck so that my cats won’t mistake it for a lunch buffet.
This year I also decided I was going to make an effort to attract not only orioles and finches, but also robins. Robins are so quintessential to spring in Michigan that I just had to have them in my yard, too. I did some reading about what they like to eat, which prompted a Saturday trip down to Traverse City, resulting in a new eco-friendly feeder and some songbird mix, complete with raisins and dried mealworms. My new hobby seems to be paying off. Just tonight, there were about 50 little birds that I have never seen before, going crazy over my finch feeder. After a quick search on my computer, it turns out they are called common redpolls. I have never even heard of those, but they sure are pretty. So I guess what I am saying is that I’ve turned into my own grandma, and if that makes me the old lady in the lunchroom, so be it. Just don’t be surprised if I whip out my phone and show you a video of the orioles when they finally make their way to my feeder.
By Dawn Hovie, Great Lakes Energy member
Dawn is a reading specialist at Charlevoix Elementary School and writes a monthly column for the local papers, Petoskey News-Review and Charlevoix Courier. She likes to spend her free time working in her backyard and playing Frisbee with her dog.