Breakfast Club

May 4, 2008

feeder frenzy

Back on March 21, the Black-capped Chickadees and Downy Woodpeckers were emptying the feeders, and only the cedars were green.

Sometimes I can smell seasons. This morning is one of those times. On my way over to Robert and Jane’s place to catsit, I could smell Spring. The air is cool, not quite 10 (50) degrees, and damp from yesterday’s downpour; the Crabapples are in full bloom; and the maples are replacing their delicate green bobbly bits with translucent young leaves. Scent is spilling out from sidewalks as each corner grocer displays hundreds of potted plants.

For a while last week, I was afraid we were going to miss out on Spring, just as we were cheated out of Autumn. It went from too hot to snowbound in about two days’ time, and then as soon as the snow melted we were handed unseasonably warm, dry weather. We Canadians like to joke that we have two seasons, Winter and July (or Winter and Construction if you’re a driver), but I think most of us enjoy the buffers between the two extremes.

Anyway, today is a perfect Spring day. And tomorrow I will bring my binoculars! There were three types of sparrows feeding at the suet block next door when I arrived.

The White-crowned Sparrows were encouraging conversation, saying, “Speak! Speak!”

The House Sparrows chuckled, “Ju-jube!” in reply.

The White-throated Sparrows, pushing back from the feeder, sang out “O sweet Canada, Canada, Canada!”

Then an alarmist Starling started spitting, “Ca-a-at! Ca-a-at!” and the party broke up for a moment. But the sparrows were soon back. Robert and Jane’s cats don’t do fences, much less tree limbs. They were simply out for a post-breakfast sniff, to sit in the back yard and enjoy this fine morning as much as I am.