Perhaps these are my pets, the birds that come to my feeders. Wild birds that give me comfort just by being there. The bird you see in the picture, above, is a winter bird in my area (the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia), a White-throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis. He has a sweet song that is easy to remember, using the mnemonic, “Poor Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody.”
I know that autumn will not last much longer, when I see these little birds, rustling around in the leaves on the forest floor. I have to look very closely to see them. Their feathers provide a great camouflage against the dry, brown, fallen leaves.
I must wait for the bears to retire for their winter slumber, before I put out the feeders for the cold months of the year. Otherwise I am likely to need to purchase a new feeder. Believe it or not, the bears do like bird seed too, and will carry a feeder off, or just totally destroy one with ease.
The bear, above, came out of his den, unannounced on January 17th, to cart off one of my feeders. He chose a new model that was designed to keep squirrels out. Needless to say, bird feeder designers don’t aim to keep bears out of the seeds. I suppose that would be an impossible task. If I know that bears are roaming, I don’t put out feeders.
I’m hoping Mr. Bear, is now back in his den. Hoping that the cold will keep him all snug and warm, and away from the bird feeders for while longer. Not only do I enjoy simply watching the birds and their antics, I depend on the feeders to bring them within easy shutter range, so that I can get pictures of my winter pets.
Another bird of winter, is the Dark-eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis. Most of them summer in the far north, some going into the Arctic. A few however, do stay in this general area year ’round. I have seen some summering in the Shenandoah National Park, which is just a short distance from my cabin. Here at my feeders though, it is only the migrating Dark-eyed Junco, that I see.
I speak of the wild birds as my pets. I don’t have any “all the time” pets living with me. A frequent visitor, though, is my son’s and daughter-in-law’s cat, Betelgeuse.
That’s Betelgeuse, in the picture above. She’s a rescue, Maine Coon cat. She is a predator. For her own safety and health, and for the sake of my wild pets, she is an indoor pet. I hope your cat is an indoor cat as well, for the sake of my wild pets.