Friday, December 3, 2010

Bird Brains

They're back and I am convinced that they are having a ceilidh! 

The "they" I am referring to are tiny, brown sparrows, thirty or so of them. They decamped last spring when the warm weather arrived, but now that it is cold again, they have returned to the forsythia bush at the the front to the house. It seems that they come every year to spend the winter in the tangle of the over grown bush.

Small birds are rarely thought of as intelligent, hence the derogatory expression "bird brain" for someone who is behaving foolishly, but I for one, am impressed by the fact that these common sparrows have enough smarts to remember each fall that my forsythia is a great place to spend the cold winter months.

In the morning, I can often hear their noisy chatter as they flit back and forth from the protection of the forsythia to the copper feeders just inside the back gate. A "ceilidh", at least by my Nova Scotian understanding of the Scottish word, is a kitchen party with lots of village gossip. Sometimes, when I am making breakfast in the kitchen, this gang of brown sparrows are so cheerfully talking to one another that I am convinced that there must be an awful lot of things to gossip about in the bird world.

Chickadees are also regular patrons of our bird feeders. They are so tame that they will land and take seed from the palm of our hands.

News spread quickly when there is a special treat waiting in the copper feeder. The sharp, urgent cries of the jays echo back and forth through the tree tops as they called out to one another. 

Jays are smart too- I watch them sort through the peanut pile. They scoop the peanuts up, examine them, reject the unworthy nuts and then fly off with their carefully selected prize. They don't eat them all at once either, but rather, stash some of the best nuts away, so they can retrieve them later.

 I hope that you have a great weekend!


  1. The bright blue of the jays always surprises and astonishes me. I didn't know that sparrows were such gossips. I wonder what they talk about?

  2. a wondeful set of photos!
    you caught the essence of a jay very well

  3. I think birds are absolutely fascinating to watch. We had a large yard at our former house and always fed the birds. I could spend literally hours watching and being totally entertained by our feathered friends. At my current 'small' property we only have a bird bath set up but I still love to watch the birds bathing and drinking from it. Our neighbour across the road feeds not only the birds but has now attracted rabbits and squirrels. She puts out a whole assortment of snacks and treats twice daily for all her friends and I will tell you, those birds sit in wait, waiting for her to rise and put out all their food in the morning. I see it everyday on my dog walk so you're right, they absolutely have some level of intelligence to them. Have yourself a fabulous weekend.

  4. What great pictures. I love this time of year when the birds are more active in the garden. Right now the Juncos seem to be our most common visitor.

  5. Can we talk of the lovely lead in brown photos to this post! Always a joy to visit, I thank you again for sharing.

  6. Your post is a reminder to me to fill the bird feeders for winter. I get kind of lax on that during the summer, I must admit. It's fun to watch their activity during the winter when there's not too much activity going on in the garden!

  7. What wonderful photos. I'm amazed how your able to capture the birds in action.

  8. You have some super pics of the birds. I'm glad they stayed still long enough to photo them, I have to take tons of pics just to get one good shot. We have a arborvite near our back door that the sparrows live in durning the winter.
    Love watching them in the sorta replaces my gardening.

  9. Jennifer, I guess we are really into the beginning of winter. We need to go an buy our seed for the birds. The Blue Jay is the policeman of the bird world, warning other birds of danger. He is also the robber, taking over other bird's nests, stealing their food, etc. Chickdees are acrobats, able to totally flip over.

    I can't wait to see them coming again.


  10. I really love birds, too. Sometimes instead of playing the stereo, I keep it quiet so I can listen to the birds. It does sound like they have a lot to talk about.

  11. Those were some great images! I really liked all of the ones with the birds in flight. You really caught their feathers in your lens! I am also digging your new title picture! Very festive!

  12. Such beautiful captures! I have noticed a new buzz of bird activity in my garden over the last few weeks. I like your idea of putting out some peanuts for the bigger birds. My feeder only serves smaller birds and is designed to keep the squirrels out. They could probably do with a few peanuts too!

  13. Hello there Jennifer girl !
    I very much liked your using the ceilidh description (I am a Blue Nose) .. it must be so nice to hear the little chirps as you are in the kitchen : ) "Bird Brain" .. I think so many people are of that nature there is no room for any bird that might be nailed with that name ? haha
    I love the feeder .. Blue Jays drive me batty with that shriek of theirs .. greedy guys that they are.
    Great pictures .. I can almost hear them from here ? LOL
    Joy : )

  14. Wonderful bird photos! Love the name of your blog.


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