Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm home..and so are the animals!

I've been traveling for months and a neighbor watched my house. I thought I left plenty of food for the squirrels and birds, but when I returned, the land around my little circular house was ominously quiet. I immediately ran outside and started filling the bird feeders and water dishes and within a few hours the animals returned. Sigh.

I noticed in my trellis area outside my bedroom that a little creature pulled down one of the citronella candles and ate around the outside. It may have been attracted to the lemon scent. At first, I thought it was the owl that hangs out near my bedroom door sometimes, but it could have been the squirrels.

This morning, my turtle pond outside my bedroom window was packed with a large flock of birds. They almost looked like red-breasted robins but they have white rims around their eyes. There were so many they took up every space on the rocks and branches surrounding the pond. They dipped their beaks into the water then tilted their heads back to let it trickle down their throats. They looked like little bobbing toys. They were very alert, though, and I could tell they could see me through the window. I hope they come back. It was wonderful to watch.

The squirrels are happy I am home. They average a corn cob every two days. I set out sunflower seeds for the cardinals on the back picnic table and the squirrels have been foraging through the seeds, as well. I also added a water bowl for the birds in the back and now the squirrels use the water bowl instead of the turtle pond, which is probably better water anyway.

I haven't seen as many cardinals as I did last year, but I do have three mated pairs around the house. The male was drinking from the turtle pond earlier. He was a deep, intense red and rather large. I noticed the female on a nearby branch with her soft gray feathers and bright orange beak. The male flew over to the feeder and dug around, then returned and dropped something into her mouth. It was very sweet to watch. So romantic!

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