When we first moved to this rural property, 25 years ago, we were eager to set up a bird feeder for our feathered friends. Over the years, we've had some hits and some misses. One year, we had an influx of rats who visited regularly. It's alarming to see a rat at your feeder when your feeder is on your deck only steps from the door. It's especially alarming to see those rats during daylight. It means you have a LOT of rats! Probably more rats than you'd want. Fortunately or maybe UNfortunately, we don't have photos of that. You have to take our word on it. Since then, a combination of feral cats and fishers seem to have eliminated the rat population.
One year we had a wave of Grosbeaks stop by. We think they included us in their migration route that year. If you're not sure, Grosbeaks are the birds that look like Ninja warriors. Seeing one is exciting. Seeing a throng of them is pretty spectacular.
We've had lots of Blue Jays. Always. They're noisy, but they're beautiful. What we didn't have for the first decade or so was a Cardinal. We've wanted Cardinals for a very long time.
And then, a few years ago, we saw one. He came at dusk and dawn. And sometimes he brought the missus. Cardinals and Blue Jays are ground feeders. They like to stand with their feet on solid ground. They also like to be close to some shrubbery for a quick escape. So, this year, after we saw a few Juncos and Chickadees picking at the ground underneath our lilac bush, we got the bright idea to scatter some seed right on top of the snow beneath that bush. And, voila!
Cardinals!!! You can see the flashy male, but if you look carefully, you can see the more modest female off to the left. But wait! There's more! We have since counted THREE males all at the same time! Best of all, this is the view we see from our favourite perch.
And we don't just mean the royal 'we'!
We're all big bird watchers around here.