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Birds, everywhere

Who can identify this bird? Photo by Ken Ilgunas. Update: We think this bird is a pine warbler.

It’s amazing how many birds there are around the abbey right now. Partly, no doubt, it’s because we’ve been feeding them. Partly, no doubt, it’s because it’s spring. But the birds are not just near the feeders. They’re everywhere — in the trees, on the fences, working the orchard, raiding the chicken house, waiting in line for the feeding stations on the porches.

We would like to think that, each year, the abbey grounds are becoming better habitat for birds. Each year, we dump more compost and more organic fertilizer pretty much everywhere. We’ve planted more evergreens for cover and lots of wildflowers. Where there is food and water and shelter, the birds will come.


  1. Dean wrote:

    It’s most likely an American gold finch. If so, you’ll probably only see it and its mate a day or two. They’re just passing through. If you want to attract them, put out thistle. You can hang the seeds in sections of stockings or pantyhose.

    We had only one unusual visitor this year: a Peregrine falcon. I saw it Friday on the wing, then it stalked the bird feeders close to the house on Saturday. No feathers to indicate it caught anything, but you never know. The hawks almost always pluck the birds before taking the carcasses away, but the falcon might just snatch and go.

    Other than that, it’s been the normal seasonal traffic: ungodly numbers of low-rent grackles, which only Frank likes, intermixed with whiny cowbirds and the odd starling. The regular tenants — our beloved cardinals and the Garage Gang (a flock of finches, so named because they live in the hedgerow next to the garage) — are annoyed, but they’ll get over it.

    We have a stray cat wintering over in the shed behind the garage, but she has not bothered the birds at all. I think she is killing rodents instead, which is fine with me. Normally, we would have run her off, but it’s been a hard winter for the strays.

    Like the song says, you must believe in spring.

    Friday, March 7, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink
  2. Dean wrote:

    P.S. — Only the male American gold finch has the trademark fiery plumage. The female is often more green than yellow. Just a guess.

    Friday, March 7, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

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