SISKINS VS. REDPOLLS; WINNER TAKES ON THE TREE SPARROWS
This morning was the coldest straight temp (without any wind chill factor) we’ve had this winter: minus 12 degrees Centigrade or about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a balmy winter day in my former home in the foothills, but it's no doubt shockingly cold to the local population of birds along the north shore of Lake Erie.
In a recent post I mentioned that for the first winter since I arrived here in 2005, I’ve had pine siskins and common redpolls at the niger feeder, both jockeying for a place along with the tree sparrows, house sparrows, goldfinches, and even a huge fluffed up starling, who did manage to squeeze a toehold on the perch peg, but found it too difficult to get his in the right position to get anything from the seed port. He finally flew down to the ground to peck with the mourning doves and other larger birds. Meanwhile, the siskins were exhibiting some behavior I’d forgotten all about. They were trying to keep all newcomers away from their pegs by dipping their heads low and rapidly spreading their wings and tails, flashing their intimidating patches of bright yellow. One redpoll sat off to the side, looking completely bemused by the siskins’ bold displays. I’d also forgotten how touchy the tree sparrows are. They seem to be even less tolerant of each other than of other species. They’ll be feeding calmly on the ground when suddenly a pair will rise up, nipping and fluttering until one of them takes off chasing the other at breakneck speed. I shake my head at some of the blatant cheap shots they take, and the seemingly wasted time and effort spent not taking on more seed against the cold. But I’m not here to referee. My job is just to keep the feeders filled, and not play favorites.
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.