A yr or two in the past we acquired a clear plastic hen feeder and attached it outside our family home window. The idea was to notice our avian friends at near hand, to admire their grace and magnificence and respect their swift and unbelievably intricate landing maneuvers.
We liked looking at the fragile way they utilized their tongues to change the seeds in their mouths and their beaks to crush them to get at the nuts.
It was a excellent education and learning into these ubiquitous flying creatures, our lifelong if generally unobserved and underappreciated aerial good friends. How wonderful to see them so near, within just a couple toes.
The most important guests to our fowl feeder are neighborhood sparrows and a pair of cardinals, male and woman, whom we believe have lengthy nested in our yard.
Property sparrows, we learn, are native to and considerable in Illinois. They are, to my flavor, instead dull-searching birds, even with their striated gray and brown plumage.
The large, lengthy-tailed cardinal is the point out chook of Illinois, and the male cardinal is just one of the most gorgeous birds in the avian constellation, with a brilliant pink crown and upper body and black mask and throat.
Some speedy study turned up a couple enjoyable information about Cardinalis cardinalis, the household of new globe birds occasionally recognised as cardinal-grosbeaks:
- The name dates back again hundreds of several years, when American colonists noted the similarity concerning the male’s scarlet plumage and the pink silk biretta and vestments of Catholic cardinals.
- Aside from Illinois, cardinals are the state bird in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
- Many athletics teams are named for cardinals, these as the Chicago Cubs’ rival St. Louis Cardinals as well as the Arizona Cardinals football crew. In addition, many faculty groups use the identify as a mascot, such as Wesleyan College and College of Louisville. In Illinois there are the Sidney Higher University Cardinals and the Chrisman Significant College Cardinals, undoubtedly far better nicknames than the Appleknockers of Cobden and the Pretzels of Freeport and New Berlin.
- Cardinals are usually the initially birds to use a feeder in the early morning and the final in the dusk of night. Specialists consider this may be because there are less birds to share the seeds with at individuals instances.
Beginner while I am, on this past level I need to disagree. Cardinals really don’t need to stress about sharing. That is mainly because they do not share.
With their big stature and overwhelming manners, cardinals will menace and combat off any sparrows or other birds that dare to land in the hen feeder when they are feeding. Cardinals are, in a term, bullies.
We found this actions fairly amusing – and also a tiny unsettling. But as Tennyson famously poetized, nature is “red in tooth and claw.” Our feathered mates, like other animals, are fighting for survival – and sharing is not an evolutionary trait that a great deal positive aspects them.
Just as I was modifying to this bullying conduct, we noticed an even even larger bully. Our yard squirrels identified a way to cling on to the window ledge and – by virtue of a amazing again flip that would do an Olympian gymnast very pleased – land in the chook feeder, scattering any birds within.
This was far too a great deal! I have taken to education our grand-pet dog to bark at the offending rodents (which doesn’t operate) and to bang on the window, which sends the incumbent squirrel in a panicky dive into the bushes and on to the sidewalk – and sends me into a healthy of maniacal laughter.
Forgive me, animal enthusiasts, but I enjoy scaring the massive bullies.
I guess that would make me the greatest bully of them all.