I have a large flower garden area in my back yard. Over the past month, each morning before school, my kindergarten grandson and I throw bread to the birds, bunnies and squirrels.
At first we just noticed robins, squirrels and a couple of bunnies. As days go by, more and more species are coming around. (I imagine there is some bird internet where news of food sources is broadcast.) We have seen a pair of finches, a mourning dove and even 2 bluejays!
I grew up with a Daddy who loved the outdoors. When I was my grandson’s age, I remember walking in a farmer’s field and having my dad point out the wild turkeys. I learned that when the leaves have fallen, you can clearly see the leafy nests squirrels build in the trees.
Now I am teaching his great grandson about the treasures in nature – right in front of us. We have seen baby robins go from the nest, to the ground, and now flying. He found a “bunny hole” where they run from my yard to the nextdoor neighbors.
Some of his august proclamations include:
- The “Daddy birds”, a.k.a. Brewer’s Blackbirds, eat from the feeder upside down.
- Bunnies hide under plants to eat. They are scared so that makes them safe.
- If the piece of bread is too big, the bird can’t fly off with it.
- Squirrels do not like company when they are eating. They chase other squirrels away.
- Squirrel nests are made in a strong fork in a tree, very high up.
- Baby robins (who can fly) have white spots on their feathers (like a fawn).
That special bird
One morning, while I was readying the bread, he saw a “special bird” and was really eager to figure out what kind it was. “It had a red head and red ends to its feathers. The rest of it was brown," was the excited description. After a few days, I saw the “special bird” with him. It was a female cardinal.
Folklore holds that when you see a cardinal, it is a visitor from Heaven. As I watch the animals every morning with my grandson – and we see the cardinal pair – I know my father is smiling.