Lessons learned from watching our bird families

As I sit here in my son’s home in Thunder Bay looking at the backyard I can revel in a flock of sparrows cleaning the yard. I have always been delighted by birds so maybe it’s something I need to spend more time on as retirement looms. On the hummingbird front I have been to one home that had about 5 feeders across a 40ft deck and had literally dozens of hummingbirds swiftly flying around all the time and of course some engaged in their territorial disputes. It was magnificent!

Robby Robin's Journey

We have been blessed the past few summers. Bird parents of nearly every persuasion have selected our backyard for their nurseries and our feeders as their restaurant of choice. The result has been a “bird’s eye” view of bird parenting techniques and the endearing if short-lived tolerance of adolescent birds towards other birds.

We have been beyond fortunate to be able to watch bird mothers and fathers (and I love how they share their parenting responsibilities) feeding their adolescent offspring, including an enormous crow parent feeding its equally enormous crow young’un on a tree branch outside our back window. We’ve watched Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers feeding their young from the luxury of our living room as well, and, let me tell you, those young’uns are demanding. If you think your kids are whiny, just ask bird parents what they think!

Greedy Hairy Woodpecker

We have watched as mourning doves, cardinals…

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