By Alkali Springs Correspondent
We have written many times before about being a good armchair bird watcher and enjoying it so very much! In fact for us, that is the only way to bird watch. Entice the birds to our living room window, feed them well and just wait for action. In our tiny mountain cabin we have a sofa in front of the window and we like nothing better than sitting on it during the day and watching the birds with one eye and a good football game or movie with the other. That is living!
There is never a dull moment while watching. Even more exciting than usual are the times of late when we put unsalted peanuts out for the jay that has been around all winter long. What is amazing is what else eats the peanuts and the lengths they will go to get them.
First, early in the morning, the rabbits come out and sniff around the feeding area, looking for the tiny peanut morsels that the nightly raids by the raccoons have left. Usually the rabbits stay until they find something that they like. When it is really dawn, they leave for greener pastures but often they return again and again during the day, just looking, mind you.
Then the pheasants come and we have found that pheasants just love peanuts. In fact, they would eat every one we ever put out except for two things. First, pheasants are afraid of their own shadows and just sort of skulk around chomping on a peanut and looking around. Even a noise in the house will scare them into leaving for a good hour or so. And then there is the blue jay. He seems to think (correctly) that the peanuts are for him and when he comes up to get his share and sees a pheasant eating them, he will literally dive bomb the pheasant again and again until the pheasant lets out a squawk and runs for cover. Then the jay starts eating his fill. That means eating one and taking one to hide somewhere, then coming back to eat another and taking still another and taking still another to hide. This goes on and on until a male, hairy woodpecker shows up. He just sits on the ground by whatever peanuts are left until the jay comes in for another. Then he makes a beeline for the jay, sort of running over to him on the ground with his woodpecker bill outstretched and the jay squawks and flies away leaving a bunch of peanuts to one big woodpecker. One happy woodpecker we might add. And that is the sort of thing that goes on in front of our window daily when we are there and have put out feed and peanuts. Why, it is even better than watching the latest installment of West Wing on the tube!
Lakes are thawing, pussy willows are out, and before long crocuses will be up. Maybe even in time for Easter. That is what we like because Good Friday is made for planting sweet peas, potatoes and picking crocuses to turn their beautiful pedals into colors for Easter eggs. More next week.