Notes from the Spring Creek Arts Guild


Feathered Office-Mates

  • Notes from the Spring Creek Arts Guild
    Notes from the Spring Creek Arts Guild

I am a casual birdwatcher. I do have a few bird books along with the Merlin Bird ID app on my phone, and a pair of binoculars on my desk, but I do not have a pith helmet or even a “life list.” So far I have not traveled anywhere specifically to look for birds, although I would really like to go to the coast someday to see the whooping cranes. Still, birds tend to take a rather large role in my day-to-day life.

My office here at home is at the end of the house and in the edge of a patch of woods. My desk is between two windows and in a corner. There is a huge window in front of me to the right and another at my left shoulder. I have bird feeders all around my house, but focus most on this one corner where my desk sits. On the office porch there is a platform feeder that usually has sunflower hearts in it. That one attracts cardinals, titmice, house finches as yearround regulars. Outside of the window to my left, which faces the woods, there is a hummingbird feeder (replaced by a nyjer seed feeder in winter), a basket with whole sunflower seeds, and a clear acrylic feeder stuck to the window that holds a mix of seeds. Also outside that window is a bird bath assembled from a small shop table, a black Tough Tub, an electric water pump inside of a rock shape, and several carefully placed rocks. There is a ton of bird activity outside that one window! Besides what happens around the water and the feeders, there are always birds up in the trees and in the woods. I even had a covey of quail hanging around one day.

My work involves a lot of computer, phone, and paper work. Through all of that, the activity is constant right outside my window. Being on hold for hours, which is happening more and more, is much easier to bear when I can lean back and watch the birds while I wait. The past month there have been four baby bluebirds who love my birdbath. They sit on the edge, drink, splash, and chase the leaves that float in the water. There are chickadees and titmice who are very enthusiastic bathers and hummingbirds who can drink while they fly. There has been a cardinal family hanging around—Mother will perch on the fence while Father shows the babies how to forage on the ground. He feeds the babies and flies over to feed Mother, too. Occasionally a male or female summer tanager will come for a drink or a bath. I have heard a painted bunting all summer, but so far only the female has come to my bird bath. The past week there has been a female Baltimore oriole in the trees, and a few days ago, she perched on the bath to drink. I need to get some grape jelly to put out for her so I can get a better look at her. I suspect owls are patronizing my bath at night because some mornings I find almost all the water splashed out.

Having all my little feathered friends around while I work keeps me focused, mostly. Sometimes I get distracted by them and have to snap out of it and get back to work, but mostly they provide a pleasant background stream of activity and sounds. They give my eyes and my brain a place to rest. They certainly are good for my blood pressure! The birds going about their lives outside the window help me keep things in perspective and keep me grounded, thereby making me more productive. Hmm, I wonder if sunflower seeds are a deductible expense??