Free Admission to Bird Theatre

The window over my desk looks out to the back of my house, over my deck.  From the deck Todd has secured a few birdfeeders.  I go to Tractor Supply and get the shelled birdseed, so the birds won’t make a mess with all the shells.  Then I watch and wait.  Let me tell you, Bird Theatre does nothing to help with my already declining attention span.  But year round I get steady traffic to my feeders.  Here are my feathered friends who come to visit. 

1. BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music watches downy woodpeckers.Downy woodpeckers.  Todd and I have named the pair that comes to the feeder the Baron and the Baroness.  They look very elegant with the black and white markings on their tail feathers, as if they were draped in lace.  These are the same birds that ate the molding around the big window in my living room.  So, lesson learned, keep the feeders full.








BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music watches goldfinches.2. Goldfinch. When I first saw these I had thought that a parakeet from a neighboring house got loose.  Then a whole flock of them came to the feeders, and I knew they weren’t parakeets.  The males are bright yellow, while the females are muted yellow.






BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music watches red bellied woodpeckers.3. Red Bellied Woodpecker. This guy is pretty elusive. He hangs on the opposite side of the feeder, so it’s hard to see him from the window.  I just see his tail feathers sticking down and that’s how I know he’s there. 







BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music watches cardinals4. Cardinals. Lots and lots of cardinals. I saw the cutest thing one morning.  The pair of cardinals came to the feeder.  They perched on the deck railing.  He hopped over to the feeder, grabbed a seed, hopped back and fed it to his mate.  Then he hopped over to the feeder again, grabbed one seed, and then hopped back and fed that one to his mate.  This went on for several minutes, with him hopping back and forth.  I tried to get Todd to feed me ice cream that night by citing this example set by the cardinals.  No dice.






BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music watches tufted titmouse5. Tufted Titmouse. These little guys like to perch on the oak tree near by and swoop in and raid the feeders.









BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music watches white breasted nuthatch6. White Breasted Nuthatch. These guys chase the tufted titmouses (titmice?) away, they are entertaining to watch them jockey for control at the feeders.










BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music watches hummingbirds7. Hummingbirds. There was a summer a few years ago where Todd got them to eat out of his hand.  He poured some of the hummingbird food into a cap from a juice bottle and calmly sat perfectly still and waited.  Eventually they got the courage to eat from his hand.  He tried to get me to do it too.  But I couldn’t sit still for even half a minute.  I scratched at a mosquito bite, I blew the bangs off my forehead, I craned my neck to look around for the hummingbirds.  I didn’t even realize I was doing it.  Side note, if you have hummingbird feeders, don’t buy the hummingbird nectar in the store.  Make your own with 4 cups of water 1 cup sugar.  Stir well.  The stuff in the store is loaded with dyes, and these little birds don’t need those dyes. 









BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music watches grackle.8. Grackle. These guys look like crows, only they have a brownish tinge to them.  Their size scares all the other birds away.










BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music watches chickadees9. Chickadees.  This is the first bird we ever got to the feeders, and they are plentiful in the spring.










BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music watches juncos.10. Juncos.  These guys migrate from the cold of Canada in the winter.  They remind me of tiny pudgy penguins.  We don’t see them in the summer at all, as they’ve gone back up north to get away from the heat of the RI summer. 









Honorable mention: we have wild turkeys that often make an appearance.  There was a hen that came around, and I promptly named her Harriet.  She used to walk right up to the deck railing and pick at the seed that the other birds dropped to the ground.  I was amazed at how often Harriet came around.  Then a tom came around, and I named him Nelson.  Nelson courted Harriet heavily, and puffed himself up to impress her. 

Then I noticed that it wasn’t just one Harriet.  What I thought was one hen was actually a dozen different hens coming up to the feeder.  Nelson sauntered into the back yard with all of them in tow, proudly showing off his feathers..

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 06.26.17

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