My grandparents – the ones who passed away this holiday season – were avid birdwatchers. They taught their grandchildren to love birds in turn – I have many memories of playing in the woods in their house as a small child, and waiting very still to see the birds come to their feeders. (I’m told I was six at the time.) In the summer at their retirement home, they’d have hordes of hummingbirds buzzing about!

This winter is also the first time I’ve had my own bird feeder. I didn’t get it set up in time for the first snowstorm we had, but I noted a small mixed flock of songbirds at a neighbor’s feeder just afterwards, so I hoped that they’d find mine, too. The first few days were a bit disappointing, though I scattered seeds across the deck and even clipped a couple of bird tree ornaments outside to catch their attention! The first few explorers came by a day or two later – a trio of juncos and a finch – but now the flock has truly descended. A Carolina wren was next, and then this morning I spotted a lot more! The ubiquitous house sparrows, of course, but also a cardinal pair, nuthatches, titmouses, chickadees – and a squirrel trying to look innocent. I didn’t get to see him test the squirrel-proof measures of the feeder, though, because he ran off when I gave him the evil eye.

I’m hoping to get white-throated sparrows too, like my parents, but they’ve had their feeders set up for years now and offer a more varied buffet (including thistle seed for the goldfinches) so I suppose I’ll have to wait patiently by the window.

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