TO FILL A MOCKINGBIRD

As I’ve said in the past, my backyard is the best reality series going. I have lots of bird feeders and bird baths (some with drips). I have different stations around the yard so that the LBJ’s (little brown jobs) can have their safflower in one corner while the woodpeckers and jays can enjoy their peanuts in another. It’s a lot of work. But, at this time of the year, it pays off bigtime when the winter birds who’ve become parents bring their young to my yard and teach them how to use the feeders. Here are the babies (fledglings) in my yard now: 2 house finches, 2 blue jays, 2 grackles, 2 starlings, 3 mockingbirds, 1 cardinal, 1 downy woodpecker, and 1 red-bellied woodpecker. It was quite a sight last night when they all showed up at the same time–with parents–and attempted to hit the feeders. I felt like a happy Tippi Hedren. My favorite? The baby mockingbirds. I filled their feeder with mealworms and the three young ones lined the fence while mom shoveled the worms into their gaping yellow mouths. They ate a third of my 2,500-count ($25) worm container in one sitting. And you thought kids were expensive.

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