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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Feed the birds,tuppence a bag

This morning is bright and shiny and beautiful! The sun is making the snow sparkle and has been much needed. Lately, I have been feeding our local bird population. I've been enjoying reading others' blogs about their own bird feeding adventures, so I will give you a peek out my back door.

This big blue spruce is a perfect perching spot for the birds.


The bird feeders this year consist of a new one which I received for Christmas with a tube for the seed and an outer "fence" to keep squirrels out, a suet feeder, and the feeder table. I really like the new bird feeder, but squirrels can just come and feast from the table anyway. Generally I get a lot of juncos, chickadees and doves.

I always know when the bluejays are in the vicinity because the smaller birds scatter and let these large "bully birds" have first dibs.

A snowy, blurry bluejay.

I often get little downy woodpeckers and nuthatches. I adore how the nuthatches approach the feeder by coming down the tree headfirst.

I particularly enjoy the cardinals. Like couples who do everything together, the cardinals show up in pairs. The male is always easy to spot with his brilliant red coat, and the female is identified by her crest, orangy red beak, and her dull reddish colouring.

male cardinal below the feeder table

the cardinal and his wife



Another blogger, Sue in Suffolk, had some redpoles at her place. I've had those in the past but have not seen any this year. Other birds that I have had in the past, who have kept their distance this year are pileated woodpeckers. They are stunning birds, larger and more "pointy" than the little downies.

an internet image of a pileated woodpecker


Finally, the title of my blog comes from the movie, Mary Poppins. When our daughter was young, this was perhaps her favourite movie. We had the video and it was viewed countless times. She started dance at four years old, and even at that young age, she would prepare her costumes and props ahead of time so she would be ready to dance along with the choreography in various parts of the movie. No, she wasn't as precise as Julie Andrews and Dick Vandyke, but she gave it her all. When her brother was old enough, she would coerce him into doing scenes with her, the favourite being the "Step in Time" scene on the rooftops. "Feed the Birds" refers to a scene where an elderly lady is selling bags of bird food (bread crumbs?) and young Michael wants to spend his money on a bag. His banker father tells him to invest his money instead. The song itself is melancholy and sweet and it is in my head now. There is a line that has the words, "the saints, the apostles" in it. My sweet daughter always thought it was, "the saints, the opossums". Of course, those are the words we sing instead. So whenever I mention to my husband that I'm going to go out to feed the birds, he sings back a little of the song. "Feed the birds, tuppence a bag."

from Mary Poppins

12 comments:

  1. That pileated woodpecker is absolutely stunning. We get a greater spotted woodpecker or two at our bird table but they are not quite as spectacularly as that one! I have once seen a cardinal in the US - in fact I bought a pottery one to remind me - that is another bird I wish we had here. It is really the survival of the biggest, isn't it? The smallest gives way to the next in size and so on all the way up. I always put out coconuts which the farmer chops in half and hangs in the trees - all the birds love that.

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    1. I didn't realize you did not have cardinals there! That's a shame, as they are really stunning. But then, I've never seen a greater spotted woodpecker. -Jenn

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  2. Mary Poppins was the first film I was taken to watch at the cinema and long before videos and DVDs we had the soundtrack on a LP and played it endlessly. I had the PL Travers book -Aunt Sass - Christmas stories - for Christmas but haven't read it yet. Thank you for the mention in your blog and how strange that you get Redpolls in Canada as we don't see any of your birds here - or at least not that I know off - except Canada geese! I would love to see the cardinals they look so bright and cheerful

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    1. Our Canada Geese can become a bit of a nuisance (and a mess!) here. My daughter's university campus becomes a bit of a splattered mine field due to the geese. Sorry that's all we've exported to you! -Jenn

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  3. I love those little cardinals. They are sweet and shy and beautiful, and a very welcome sight this time of year when colour is lacking. The male cardinal also has the most amazing singing voice!

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    1. Yes, they have a wonderful song, don't they! We listen for it in the summer and try to whistle it back to them (unsuccessfully). -Jenn

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    2. I am greatly enjoying your blog..I live in a high valley surrounded by mountains(in Colorado)but grew up on the north shore of Lake Michigan..I sometimes miss the enormous snowstorms we had back home...your blog is charming!

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    3. Thank you so much, Mary. The north shore of Lake Michigan would certainly get snow!! Do you have a blog? I wasn't able to get to it when I clicked on your name. It just took me to Google plus. I'd love to drop by, if you do blog. -Jenn

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  4. You are getting some of the same kinds of birds we are. They have eaten like pigs the past few days. I just now filled the feeders again and threw out some bread crumbs also. I love the story of your daughter...so sweet. Blessings to all, xoxo,Susie

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    1. I usually feed them once a day. They will eat as much as I put out, probably like the birds at your feeders. Thanks for coming by, Susie! -Jenn

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  5. I feed the birds...but it costs considerably more than tuppance a bag lol my robins have their own feeder and their own special Robin food!! I'm jealous of your blue spruce. Magical photos X

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    1. I've been told that robins in the U.K. are a little smaller than the ones we get here. I'll have to take a picture when they come back in the spring. The blue spruce is a lovely big tree. -Jenn

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