Welcome backyard guests

My husband set up backyard bird feeders this winter, and we’ve had a steady stream of gray birds: juncos, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches. While I’m happy to see them visit the feeders, I’ve been missing the splash of red of cardinals.

Finally, on a miserable winter’s day, I glanced outside and saw that yearned-for color.

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A male cardinal waiting near the feeder

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She braces in the wind and snow.

Our feeder isn’t ideal for cardinals. I hadn’t realized the perch arms were too short for them. But every so often now, the cardinals pay us a visit. Because the juncos and nuthatches spit out other seeds looking for their favorites, the cardinals don’t leave hungry.

I’ll have to add another feeder, though, as I want these favorite winter guests to feel welcome.

What winter guests do you long to welcome to your home?

The birds of the air

My husband and I spent a few precious days at our home away from home in the mountains this past weekend. Life grows stiller there for us, and we come back home rejuvenated for the tasks that lie ahead.

During this past trip, I called my mom, and she asked in a quiet, hopeful voice, “Have you seen any hummingbirds yet?”

A few weeks back, one hummingbird buzzed by the house, hoping for the feeder of sugar water because the cold, wet spring had made the flowers shy to bloom. It had been a miserably wet weekend, and though I hadn’t yet put out the hummingbird feeder, thinking it too early for them to have come back for the season, we had put seed out for other birds. And they came in droves to show off their finery and eat their fill.

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A male rose-breasted grosbeak enjoys a meal in the pouring rain.

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Posing for the camera?

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