, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 23, 2013

Feeder birds leave fond memories


I will always have affection for the tree swallows that brought nesting material to one of my display houses in front of the store. I mounted the house in the corner of the lot and the pair nested that year. Then there was the drama of watching a northern shrike take a house finch from one of my tray feeders and wrestle it to the ground as the other birds scolded the shrike’s actions. And the day of a David Sibley book signing when the Cooper’s hawk followed one of my female employees into the storage trailer. Actually it followed her head of hair to be more exact, and it realized the hair was attached to much larger prey in time to fly out without incident.

Our rarest feeder visitor came on a day that I glanced out the back window as I was turning on the lights to open the store. I saw the usual mourning doves under the feeders, but I did a double-take on one dove that was different. It was a bit larger, more plump, and had a blue ring around a red eye. It squared off tail and white-edged wing told me that it was a white-winged dove. It stayed only one day, but many birders came by to view this bird of the south and southwest.

Yes, thinking back on all these fond memories, I will miss those feeders and those birds. But we are busy enjoying our new space ... it’s funny how putting up a couple of feeders outside those windows just became a priority.

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