I run a little cafe…..a buffet style eatery……in my front yard…….under the weeping crab apple tree! It has become quite a popular spot for the locals and those passing by on their way to parts unknown. I call it the Pritt Bird Buffet……but in addition to the birds it was created to cater to, I quite often serve up meals to a more diverse clientele. The location was picked specifically so that I had a clear view out my den window when sitting at my computer. My role is simple – keep an ample supply of seeds and peanuts available to fill the feeders on an as needed basis – depends on how many patrons I welcome each day. I love my leisurely mornings catching up on the news of the day and watching my feathered (and furry) friends enjoy the gourmet cuisine I provide for them. This is the first year I have kept the buffet open during the winter months – no real reason for not doing it in the past, but I just decided it was time to start…..and, I’m so glad I did!
Here is the cafe one early morning after an overnight snowfall……
And, here are a few of my regulars……photos aren’t the best quality because I have to shoot them through my den window with a zoom lens so I don’t scare off my diners.
The peanut stations are a favorite for the blue jays – also for an occasional cardinal, but they tend to eat and run so quickly, I am rarely able to get a decent photo!
I must admit, the blue jays are my favorite winter visitors!
I find the new word “Hangry” (a combination of hungry and angry) to be the perfect word to describe the scene of a feeding frenzy! I get mornings when swarms of “Hangry Birds” swoop down in mass to fill the tree, crowd each other out of their spots at the feeders, and cover the ground to gather up whatever gets dropped!
I also love my gold finches…..I didn’t realize they stayed through the winter! I love having them visit in the summer – so beautiful and tiny – and was so happy to see they still come around in the winter months! They come to the tree in mass swarms, sing and eat their hearts out, and at the slightest noise, fly off in their mass swarm as if they were one!
The crows are especially funny to watch! They waddle up the driveway and across the yard – sometimes they perch on the tree, but usually just go right for whatever has been dropped on the ground…..scavengers! Sometimes the boogers will jump on the feeders to get them swinging and spill out food they can then pick up off the ground!
Another frequent visitor is the squirrel…..he loves to raid the peanut stations when the blue jays aren’t there to keep him from stealing their bounty!
Yes, my winter clients include, mostly, blue jays, gold finches, cardinals, little black birds, squirrels, and even some huge black crows…..but, yesterday, I was really excited to see a NEW winter client – one I didn’t expect to see quite yet……ROBINS!!!! LOTS of them!!!!
I was shocked and was sure they couldn’t be robins and, if they were, they must have been tricked into returning early by the warm weather we were having just prior to the recent snow storms. So, I put out a note on Facebook asking my friends what they were – they looked like robins, but couldn’t be this early! Sure enough, everyone agreed they were, indeed, robins! They came and went in large flocks all morning – it was a wonderful sight! I learned that they may not be “early” robins because some robins do remain here through the winter and hang in flocks in the woods, but I am definitely seeing this as yet another sign that the ground hog was right and spring is right around the corner!
Then……last evening about dinner time, I had some more surprise visitors to the cafe…….
DEER!!!! I discovered them at just the right moment – they wandered in and fought a little over who was going to get the prize, which gave me time to grab the camera. One started eating from the feeder while the other watched – I was able to snap two photos before my neighbor pulled in his driveway and they scurried off back to the safety of the woods. It isn’t the first time I’ve had deer at my feeders – we had one doe that wandered the neighborhood in the fall eating all our flowers, bushes, and any food from bird feeders they could reach. Mostly, I see them wandering the woods that are behind the houses across the street and in their back yards. While I don’t really want to encourage them to come into my yard to eat….cause they eat my beautiful flowers…..I do enjoy watching them when they do! I just hope they don’t get any bolder and jump the fence in the back yard to get those flowers……Megan would freak out if they did!!!
Yes, it is the simple, guilty pleasures in life that make it all so wonderful……like doing a good deed by providing food for the wildlife that share my neighborhood so that I can enjoy watching them…..win-win……a joy for all!