Let it Grow: Backyard wildlife enjoyable to watch

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2006

I love to watch my birds every morning and afternoon. They come to the feeders about 5 a.m. and keep on coming until dark.

It starts with the chickadees and titmice and then the cardinals and hummingbirds come.

These wonders of nature feed all day long in my back yard. They seem to have a pecking order (no pun intended) or, if you will, a certain protocol they follow.

The cardinals are somewhat timid and the least thing will spook them. The nuthatches and titmice are bold and will hang around even while I&8217;m filling one of the feeders. They usually move to one of the upper branches of the short trees and wait until I serve dinner and then, as if to say, &8220;Thank you,&8221; they start feeding and talking again.

I read a report done by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and paraphrased by Dr. H. Lee Stribling (Auburn Extension Wildlife Scientist), that said Americans spend more time watching wildlife than any other leisure time activity except gardening.

Dr. Stribling also pointed out that more than 50 million Americans feed wild birds. Americans spend over $2.7 billion dollars a year on bird feed and $830 million dollars on birdfeeders, bird houses and nesting boxes.

I won&8217;t even try to tell you how much I spend on these creatures, but I will say that I have nine songbird feeders, four hummingbird feeders, two nesting boxes and countless bird houses in their own subdivision in the yard.

Sure, I feed the squirrels too. Oh, sometimes I&8217;ll chase them down the hill to the woods, but I realize that I&8217;m in their territory and they deserve a snack too. Sometimes they look like little monkeys; hanging upside down and reaching their little hands through the cages surrounding the birdfeeders. It&8217;s all part of my somewhat free entertainment that I enjoy in the back yard.

Remember to keep your birdbaths clean and full of water so your wild birds and other creatures can have a much needed drink and a bath without attracting mosquitoes.

For more on these and other gardening tips listen to Home Grown Tomatoes every Saturday morning from 6 till 8 on 101.1 FM, The Source and log on to http://HGTradio.net