Here in the Great White North, we are exposed to many, many creatures….some good, some bad, some cute and ever amusing and some are just downright scary (i.e. Dock Spiders), but out of all the critters that abound at the Homestead, the favourite ones I like to watch are the birds. Many different birds call Northern Ontario home during the summer, some of them migrating thousands of miles to breed and raise their young alongside the year-round avian residents.
My lovely daughter and son-in-law, knowing that I am an avid bird nut, gave me a birdhouse as a gift for Mother’s Day last year. Not the cheap wooden ones you paint to decorate the outside of your home, but a REAL birdhouse, and this wasn’t just any birdhouse either, but a birdhouse made specifically for Chickadees. I scoffed at the idea….Really? How does the avian world know that this birdhouse is for Chickadees only? Do all the other birds in the same size range know this? Is there some sort of silent code amongst the birds that we don’t know about?
I was highly skeptical…as is my nature.
So I had hubby hang the birdhouse about 12 feet up in an old jackpine tree. Jackpine trees are ugly, the birdhouse at least pretties it up some.
Then, we waited…..and waited….and waited…
and Spring turned to Summer and not one Chickadee came.
I was so upset….why didn’t they like the new home I put up for them?
So this Spring, I had an idea….
I hung up a sign
It wasn’t long before we got some interest,
after I lowered the advertised Lease Rate of course…
apparently it was overpriced…
With a lease signed for the Summer, Mr. & Mrs. (well, assuming they are married) Chickadee spent the next few days moving in, decorating and arranging the furniture to their liking.
Next up was to start a family, after all, no need to waste time in the Great White North as Summer is preciously short.
It wasn’t long before we heard the sounds of several baby chickadees peep, peep, PEEPING…. from sunup to sundown. The proud parents are now spending every waking, exhausting moment of the day flying in and out delivering pizza to the younguns’. You would think that pizza would fill them up pretty quick, but nope, the featherless peepsters simply will not stop peeping…no amount of pepperoni seemed to shut them up.
So the parents had no choice but to order Chinese next…..
The other day one of the parents stopped to rest on the pole of the Hummingbird feeder and he was looking totally bedraggled. His feathers hadn’t seen any preening for days, kinda like bedhead..but all over. Poor guy. He flew over to the bird feeder and snatched a sunflower seed to pound open with his beak and devour. The parents often forget to grab a bite for themselves as finding food for the wee ones is their first priority.
Soon, the young peepsters will be learning to fly and then they will be off to the local Pub carousing with other newly fledged Chickadees. The parents will finally be able to relax in their Muskoka chairs overlooking the water, preening themselves and getting used to the retirement lifestyle. The Birdhouse will then be empty and that will be my cue to go in and clean it up and give it a fresh coat of paint…after all, birds are messy creatures, have you ever seen the bottom of a Budgie cage????