Monday, January 01, 2007

Christmas goodies

My Christmas was really wonderful this year. Santa paid his usual visit, fooling us into running outside and looking in vain for his sleigh as he stuffed our stockings with candy, carrots for Nibble, and lumps of coal for the kitties--who’ve been especially naughty this year, constantly annoying one another and disturbing the peace of our household. Not to mention how they're always trying to trip us on the stairs--are they trying to kill us?

I received many bird-related gifts this year:

Music of the Birds, book and CD, by Lang Elliot. You remember my goal to learn birdsongs; so did Niki. I’ve even got Em listening to it in the car, though Deb at work threatened to kill me if I played it again at work. . . . To go with my other interest, forensic science, she got me The Serial Killer Files by Harold Schechter. Nothing like holding up a book like that and beaming, “Look what Santa brought me!”

A beautiful glass hummingbird feeder from Deb, who also had one of my springtime sunrise photos of the marsh made into postage stamps! I don’t think I’ll use of any of them for postage, however, unless it’s a really special piece of mail.

The Audubon Backyard Birdwatcher, by Robert Burton and Stephen W. Kress. I got this for myself because it was on sale. I’ve only read half of chapter 1, but already I’m gaining a lot of insight into the science/statistics behind Project FeederWatch. And I’ve learned that the barn swallows that come back every year and nest in the neighbor’s barn wall are probably building separate nests in there but just going in through the same knothole. (reused nest = higher incidence of blood-sucking parasites that will kill the babies)

A cup of 100 dead mealworms and a new 20-lb. bag of Wiscoy’s Best--Wiscoy’s is a local animal feeding/supply store that mixes a “Best” mix that’s heavy on the black-oil sunflower and light on the millet. It’s expensive but the birds here love it. I bought the mealworms myself (to try to attract more bluebirds) but Santa himself brought me the birdseed.

This morning as I awoke to the kitties’ usual “feed me” dance on the covers, I heard a “witchety-witchety-witchety” in the yew tree outside the bedroom window. Thanks to Lang Elliot’s CD, I’m reasonably sure I heard a common yellowthroat. I thought about getting up and looking for the bird, but it was about 32 degrees out there and the time was around 7am. Warm bed, or cold bird search? Warm bed won out, I’m sorry to say. Still, it was great to recognize the call, especially of a bird I’ve never actually seen. Thanks, Niki!


LauraHinNJ said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas - and Santa even brought treats for the bunny!

Friends from work gave me the Lang Elliot book and CD also. What I like about it so much is that it includes the songs/calls of birds that aren't *known* for their voice or normally included in other birdsong CD's.

Your *witchety-witchety* morning song has me thinking - you're in PA right? - I'd wonder if it wasn't a Carolina Wren singing its *tea-kettle tea-kettle* song, rather than a yellow throat?

Happy New Year to you!

dguzman said...

You know, you might be right. The sound I heard didn't exactly match the yellowthroat, but it was the closest I heard. (googling) HOLD IT! I think you're right. I went to my favorite bird song site Elliot's recording of the yellowthroat sounds a lot more like the wren than does Tony Phillips'. Listening to Phillips' recording confirms it was a Carolina wren. Thanks!