BIRD WATCH: A full yard is a delight to the eyes, ears

I BELIEVE IT is safe to say, “the gang’s all here.”

Even though I haven’t seen any goldfinches yet, they have been reported.

The only “missing” bird appears to be the Western tanager, but maybe that too is just in my yard.

Once the black-headed grosbeaks arrived on the scene, summer seemed closer than it actually is.

A warm and sunny May led many of us to think the seasons are farther along than they are.

That’s fine with me.

I like long summers.

There was no ignoring the black-headed grosbeaks’ arrival.

Every corner of the neighborhood was ringing with their over-the-top chorus.

They rival the robins when it comes to drowning out other voices.

They’re also difficult to see when they are concealed among the tree branches.

Catching a glimpse of one is a visual treat.

There are many descriptions for this bird that wears brilliant orange, black and white plumage, but a new one for me arrived in my email.

Weather conditions must have encouraged a wave of these birds to suddenly flood the region.

Reports were coming in from various areas and the delight at seeing this handsome bird was evident.

Bob mentioned that, “They sing from the woods almost all day. They come to the feeders and eat seeds and suet. … Their song from the woods is delightful. The male is beautiful in his full dress military uniform.”

I’ve never thought of the male grosbeak being attired in a uniform, but the suggestion has taken hold.

He does have a handsome, almost regal look about him.

Now, I’m wrestling with the branch of the service he best represents.

This new description coincided nicely with the date it arrived in the mail — Memorial Day.

Black-headed grosbeaks can put away sunflower seeds at warp 8 speed.

The shells fly in all directions when one or more of them visit the feeders.

They can also make large inroads in the suet or lard/oatmeal mixes.

Keeping these birds where we can enjoy watching them becomes almost an obsession.

Must not let the feeders run dry.

However, there are other ways to attract and tempt them.

Don’t forget the bird bath. It deserves extra attention at this time of the year.

We are getting dry already. Anyone working in their gardens knows that.

The dirt in many places of the yard is dry much farther down than it usually is at this time of the year.

Natural water sources are not only shrinking but some are going dry.

A bird bath, especially one with a “dripper” is music to the ears of the birds — and other wildlife such as the raccoons and squirrels.

It can be a little tricky, depending on your yard’s setup, to get a dripper working but if I can manage it, anyone can.

I wish I had an underground set-up that dripped at just the right intervals but I don’t.

I have to work the outside faucet back and forth until the dripper’s timing is just right — about the speed of water torture with a bit of a pause before each drip falls.

The sound of dripping or tumbling water works on birds like a magnet.

It pulls them in and once they know where it is, they return to the bath over and over.

Not all birds can be tempted to the feeders but all birds need water for drinking and bathing.

The antics many of them perform while bathing or waiting to bathe, are far more entertaining than the squabbles that result at the feeders.

The Western tanager hasn’t shown up yet but I’m keeping the waterfall and stream turned on because that spot is where we see them first.

Here’s hoping the “gang” are all in my yard soon.

________

Joan Carson’s column appears every Sunday. Contact her at P.O. Box 532, Poulsbo, WA 98370, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. Email: joanpcarson @comcast.net.

More in Life

Spaghetti dinner, drag racing among upcoming Peninsula attractions

A spaghetti dinner, drag racing in Forks and pancakes in Joyce are… Continue reading

2018 Battle of the Books gets underway in October

Battle of the Books, a year-long collaborative project between the North Olympic… Continue reading

African Children’s Choir to sing in Port Angeles, Sequim

The young vocalists are making their way across the West Coast, singing… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: Kale, kale, the gang’s all here

SINCE FALL WILL arrive on the Peninsula this coming Saturday at 6:54… Continue reading

BACK WHEN: Grant Street School, built for Port Townsend, no longer exists

GRANT STREET GRADE School has disappeared. The 61-year-old building was demolished soon… Continue reading

HELP LINE: What to expect with the new Medicare cards

WE’VE BEEN HERE before, but I see that with the growing level… Continue reading

BIRD WATCH: Liven up a long drive with birding

A LONG DRIVE awaits you if Spokane is your destination. Many travelers… Continue reading

New pastor takes pulpit this Sunday

The First Presbyterian Church of Port Angeles has called a new pastor.… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: A good word for an anxious heart

I OFTEN HAVE a yellow highlighter in my hand when I read.… Continue reading

Hospice fundraiser slated for Saturday on Sequim Bay

The Reach and Row for Hospice, the Sequim Bay Yacht… Continue reading

Sand sculptor Kali Bradford brings artwork to fundraiser

World-renowned sand sculptor Kali Bradford plans to create a special… Continue reading

Sequim actress to present ‘Lillian Carter Story’

“The Lillian Carter Story: More than a President’s Mother”… Continue reading