"This Was The Place"

Red-winged Blackbirds

        When that huge storm blew in last week, it stripped our Mulberry trees of their crisp yellow leaves. It looked as if there was a thick brownish yellow frosting covering our lawn, sidewalks, and driveway. It was time to clean up the yard before it got tracked into our house and the next storm arrived. At our age cleaning up leaves involves the use of a noisy leaf blower and an even noisier riding lawnmower. One uses the air blower to pile the leaves and the other uses the lawnmower to pick up and mulch the leaves. Ground up leaves make a great mulch for our red-winged blackbirdpasture.

        The day started like every other day, except in the midst of all our preparations and getting tools ready, we forgot to fill the bird feeders. We worked really hard for a couple of hours and then when I sat down to take a rest (my Honey was still running the mower), I noticed that one bare tree had lots of dark leaves, only they werenít leaves, they were birds. Blackbirds. They must be the same ones that migrate through here every year and know we like feeding hungry birds. The riding lawnmower kept going round and round our bird feeder. The birds kept looking and waiting. One courageous Red-winged braved the noisy onslaught of man and mower and flew to the tree with the empty feeder, and hopped around as if saying, "Come on you guys, itís only a mower - itís not a monster." Back and forth he flew until a second and third followed him back to the tree with the empty feeder.

        "Stop." I yelled to Honey. "Wait right there." I said to the Blackbirds. Believe it or not, Honey stopped the mower, and I ran and got seed to filled the feeder. In just seconds in came an army of hungry Red-winged Blackbirds. They remembered. This was the place.

        Red-winged Blackbirds are present year round in the United States, but when food runs out they migrate to a better food supply. Count yourself lucky if your yard is one of their Ďstop overí places. For the price of seed you get some great music. Red-wings will be flocking with other birds like Brewer Blackbirds and Starlings. Or they will be Red-wings only.

        Many thanks to our artist this week, Brenda Rusnell. Brenda has other drawings on display at the Senior Center. For questions about birds, or the upcoming Christmas Bird Counts, call Marilyn Davis at 435 673-0996. Birder Wanabes welcome.

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