The Richmond Register

July 8, 2013

This is so much fun

By Dick Ham

RICHMOND — I was just thinking the other day about something Nancie and I enjoy so very much in the summer. We put birdseed out on our patio and in the backyard. That brings birds of all kinds to our yard. I’ve counted as many as 19 at one time.

There are blackbirds, doves, cardinals, blue jays, robins, sparrows, wrens and a number of others I can’t identify.

One of the most delightful things they do is when one feeds another. It’s easy to tell male from female with some but difficult with others. It is always the male feeding his female mate. Does that mean even wildlife understands that the male is to provide for the female?

Our yard does not adjoin woods, but I’m amazed at the other animals who visit us. Rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks are regular visitors. Last year we had an opossum to visit quite a bit. Although there are no trees in our yard that would provide nuts or other food for those animals, we’ve discovered they love birdseed just as much as the birds do.

At the time of this writing, there has been a beautiful experience. Yesterday morning when I opened the curtains to our back door, there was a tiny chipmunk feasting on birdseed. This was about 7 a.m. For the entire day, he would come eat for five minutes or less, run off very quickly then return in five minutes or so to feast again. This went on for the entire day. I saw him as late as 8 p.m.

This morning when I opened the curtains, he was there again. This time he was perched on the rim of an extremely large plastic bowl we keep full of water for birds to drink and bathe. I was surprised that he could get up on the bowl. It was nearly three times as high as he is tall. I also wondered how could he tell it was full of water. I wonder if he will appear again tomorrow.

Nancie  and I are animal lovers. At this time we don’t have a pet, but our neighbors and good friends, Duane and Linda Parsons, have a large white dog named Casey who visits our yard at least once every day and often more than that. She comes for Nancie to pet her and give her dog treats. There are two smaller dogs that sometimes come with Casey, and Nancie spoils them as well. The treats they get are rather large dog biscuits. Casey handles them well, but Nancie must break them up for the little ones.

Nancie will often leave treats on the patio in case Casey comes without her knowing it. That caused me to see something I never dreamed I would see ,and I wonder if I’ll ever see again.  Several days ago there were two doggie treats on the patio. I watched a blue jay come down, pick up one of those and fly away with it. My, what a surprise. I would have thought it would be far too big for it to carry and certainly too hard for it to eat. In just a few minutes it came back and picked up the other one.

I wonder if others have similar experiences. When we old folks spend a lot of time in our recliners, it certainly gives us pleasure to have enjoyable things to observe.

TRIVIA ANSWER – The name Ann is special because it is much more often used as a middle name.

TRIVIA QUESTION – We have just celebrated Independence Day. What was added to the original U.S. flag in 1795?

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Old Age: The time in life when we look forward to a dull evening.