Monday, June 1, 2009

Seed sack

This spring, early March I'd say, I hung a seed sack in the backyard cherry tree with a goal of increasing avian diversity around our house.

Quail visit occasionally in the fall, as do flickers. A Cooper's hawk made a brief appearance this winter, considering the possibility of turning our hanging birdfeeder into his own personal bird buffet. And, of course, the robins gloriously return each spring. But at the end of the day, our backyard is basically a year-round crash pad for sparrows -- dozens and dozens of them.

House sparrows. Song sparrows. Chipping sparrows. You name 'em, we got 'em. But as much as I enjoy their frenetic activity and garrulous personalities -- and enjoy it year-round, I might add -- it just seemed like we could do better in terms of bird diversity in our backyard. Hence, the seed sack.

A seed sack is just that -- a sack o' seeds. Well, actually a sack of nyjer thistle seeds. It's the preferred grub of finches, juncos, pine siskins -- evening morning doves! Cool. Doesn't get much more diverse than that, does it?

So up went the seed sack. And there it hung, week. . .after week. . . after week... after interminable week. No feathered takers.

Until about three weeks ago. Standing at the kitchen window, I caught a flash of bright yellow cut through the cherry tree, perch on a branch and inspect the seed sack warily. A second later, he hopped on board, sampled the goods -- then flitted off. A male American goldfinch!

Apparently the avian restaurant review was favorable. The goldfinch came back with his lovely bride the next day. Plus a few friends.

We are off to the races. With goldfinches -- and seed sacks.

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