My favorite avian guests, Finchy and Filly, have not been around a lot lately. I was a bit worried they might be gone, but I also had a theory about the cause of their disappearance.
When word got out in the animal kingdom that I was putting out free food, all sorts of new guests starting arriving. What started as one finch and his mate soon included cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, red-winged blackbirds and squirrels. Which was fine, because all were welcome.
Lately, though, I had been seeing mainly blackbirds, and in large numbers. They tend to make themselves known when they arrive because they are noisy, messy (and possibly picky) eaters that like to knock the seed around with their wings and beaks. So, they’re not ideal guests, but ok, they’re birds.
One day I arrived home and saw a number of birds eating seed on the ground below the window, where the excess (or refuse) falls. The blackbirds were ok with each other, but when other types of birds would land they’d peck at them and run them off. That got me thinking about my missing friends. Could it be they’d been strong-armed, er, strong-winged out of town?
A few days later I again arrived home and noticed a blackbird in the feeder – with Filly in there next to him. Finchy was on the ground eating whatever he could find down there (I intentionally dump extra for those that have a hard time getting to the feeder). No sooner had I noticed the situation than the blackbird turned on Filly, open-beaked, and scared her away.
While Filly fled to the roof gutter, Finchy actually flew up to the feeder and tried to confront the blackbird. It was a valiant effort to defend Filly’s honor, but since Finchy was several times smaller than his opponent, he had to retreat to the roof as well.
I knew it! The blackbirds are goddamned speciest bullies, and they’re scaring off my friends! (What did you think this post was about, huh?)
This time, I went upstairs and rapped on the window, scaring the blackbird off. (In true bully form, they are one of the easiest birds to frighten. The mourning doves just kind of look at you and coo softly.)
As I had hoped, within minutes Finchy and Filly were sharing the feeder and making the "excited" little chirping sounds they often do when enjoying a free meal together. They stayed for quite a while and got their fill without harassment.
I enjoy feeding creatures from the area, but not when they’re going to intimidate my friends. I swear, some of them can be such animals!