A flock of migrating waxwings visited the hackberry tree on the east side of the house this morning. That was much to the dismay of our resident mockingbird. Earlier in the year, a flock of robins visited the tree and only a constant battle of dive bombing and squawks kept the tree from being stripped of the tiny berries. I am not certain, but I only count one mockingbird in these battles. I have decided that one of our nesting pair hits the skies for warmer climates each winter.
We have some birds that are constant residents like the cardinals, chickadees, and bushtits. Each winter we have visitors that we have nicknamed the flying pigs. It is a mix of clay colored and chipping sparrows who arrive each fall once the weather gets cold in Kansas and Oklahoma. We call the tiny birds the flying pigs because they can clean out the large bird feeder behind the house in a day. They don’t like the larger seeds like the red milo and sunflowers but oh do they love the tiny white seeds. I think it is millet seed.
This winter, my husband noticed the birds coming to a small bird feeder my daughter bought during the pandemic. It hangs in the oak tree outside the dining room window. He noticed that larger birds could not land on the hanging feeder, so he began putting sunflower seeds out on the picnic table. The squirrels like those so now there is also a scattering of critter food for them. Some mornings he has counted as many as 35 white-winged doves eating the sunflowers. He has a special fondness for the white wings since they are very common in the Rio Grande Valley where he grew up. Of course, he was hunting them then and jokes that if he got his shotgun out, he might have enough for supper. I love they noise they make when the flock of them take off, a whoosh with snaps mixed in.
He has puzzled our grandchildren because he refers to the whitewings as “turkeys” and the squirrels as “rabbits.” No, Granddaddy has not taught the rabbits how to climb onto the picnic table, he is being silly.