two years ago i came home with two ziploc bags full of clean fluffy dog fur as nesting material for the song birds in my neighborhood. the
nasty european starlings* had outsmarted my caged suet feeder so, instead of suet, i decided filling it with dog fur would be a better way to help the birds. i filled it full, covered it - sort of - to keep out the wet, and waited. and waited. and waited.
in the mean time, i have added bird baths to the yard, additional feeders, nailed up four nest boxes and have another two sitting on the ground. all in the hopes that a couple little birds might find my yard the perfect place to raise their brood. nothing.... NOTHING.
this black-capped chickadee spent the morning pulling furiously on some seriously compacted dog fur. i spent the morning, leaning over the kitchen sink, camera against the window screen clicking as fast as i could to get a great shot of him with his bill full of fluff. he even posed on a branch looking at me with his bill full of fluff. i missed that shot, and about seventy eight others - but i got this and you will have to believe me when i tell you he made a lot of trips to and from that mess of dog fur.
while outside trying to get more photos of the chickadee, i noticed - for the first time this year - violet-green swallows flying above the house. then an anna's hummingbird feeding at the flowering red current, and afterward, picking little bits of bark and stuff to build it's own nest. down the street i could hear a northern flicker calling - advertising really - for a mate, and several house finches call as they flew overhead. and, under the daffodils, a bewick's wren was pounding the dickens out of a small grub so it could eat lunch.
it is finally, and officially spring, and as the weather gets warmer i am going to be hard pressed not to want to sit on the steps in the back and watch and wait as every bird in the neighborhood comes by to take a bath or find something to eat in my yard... i can hardly wait.
*i am not a fan - at all - of the european starling... until i saw this. it is almost enough to change my mind about them altogether. almost.