Rush Hour in Seneca Rocks

Word must be getting around about the new bird feeder on my front porch.  This morning, the male cardinal brought his mate and a pair of purple finches dined together, too.  It was the first visit for either of the finches.  A tufted titmouse and a white-breasted nuthatch flew in for breakfast, as well.

I love the way the tufted titmouse eats seeds.  If the food is fairly soft, he’ll nibble it on the spot but if it’s hard, like a sunflower seed, he’ll take the seed in his beak and fly to a nearby branch.  There, he’ll place the seed between his feet and, holding it with his feet, drill away at the hard outer shell, woodpecker-style, until it breaks.  I’ve never seen a bird do that before and it’s not just that one tufted titmouse that eats this way.  A few days ago, the whole Seneca Rocks tufted titmouse clan dropped in for a snack and each bird ate the same way – using its feet.

After seeing the tufted titmouse eat, the cardinal’s method seems downright messy and poorly suited to his formal red attire.  He breaks the seeds in its beak and the seed parts spill all over the platform he’s on.  Then he picks up and eats the bite-sized pieces off the “floor”.  I guess he’s using the five-second rule.

Then, there’s the bluejay.  This big guy boldly announces his arrival at the feeder, sort of like a loud, brassy trumpet solo in concert.  There is no mistaking that call!  His sheer size seems to intimidate the smaller birds there, who fly away to let him have first pick of the seed.  One by one, the braver birds return after a few minutes, hunger overcoming any lingering fear.

Watching the birds at my feeder each day is very enjoyable – it reminds me of people watching in Washington, D.C. during tourist season or in New York City at any time. Well – maybe not any time.  Certainly not early morning in the Big Apple.  I think New Yorkers shy away from the first rays of dawn.  They save themselves for the evening.  Yep, just when I’m ready for bed, restaurants in New York City are opening their doors and shutters for the rush hour.  When I visited my daughter at NYU several years ago, I was amazed to see packed eateries at 11:00 p.m. – and later!

While it was fun to see the city, I much prefer the peace of my country solitude.  The bustle of birds around the feeder each morning is plenty of rush hour for me!


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