Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Living in Northern Michigan has so many different and unique beauties to it. But one of these beauties has prompted a new hobby in my life - one that I never would have imagined peaking my interest and one that my wife and I are being able to enthusiastically share together. We have become BIRD LOVERS!

We have seen some great birds driving around northern Michigan. We have seen a huge Sand Crane. These are the largest birds up in these parts that can stand as tall as four feet in height and who have an amazing wing span when they take off. We saw a beautiful white Snow Owl perched on the roof of our church. And I don't think I will ever get tired of being stopped while driving by a flock of wild turkeys crossing the road (by the way, why does the Turkey cross the road?).

Our backyard has become a haven of a wide-variety of birds. We have put out several feeders and have plans to put out more. We have them positioned in just the right locations so that when Laura and I are both sitting in the living room we can see most all of them outside the large windows in the door that goes out to our patio. We have binoculars at hand and a "Birds of Michigan Field Guide" on the end table so we can identify each feathery friend that swoops down on our property. All of them have been fascinating to watch but a few have become my favorites. These include the Baltimore Oriole which brings such a beautiful orange into our view as well as the male House Finch which has has a beautiful red color to it.

But my favorite birds to watch are the many different woodpeckers that feed on our suet cakes. The Downy Woodpecker has been the most common. But last week a Pileated Woodpecker twice visited our suet feeder (top picture above taken my my wife). This is the one that the cartoon character Woody the Woodpecker looks like. But yesterday we saw our first Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker which is a medium-sized woodpecker (bottom pictured above also taken by my wife).

When this woodpecker was at the suet feeder I moved to the picture window in our master bedroom that overlooks our backyard. This is the closest window to the suet feeder. As I was looking, this Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker suddenly flew right for my face. I kid you not. Had there not been a window there for it to bang into I would have a woodpecker's beak embedded into my forehead. I grabbed our "Birds of Michigan Field Guide" and read that this bird will defend its feeding grounds even from larger animals - I think I was that larger animal.

Something tells me that I will be very careful from now on when I refill the suet feeder. Instead of being attacked by a bear I may be the first person in northern Michigan to enter heaven at the hands of a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker Woodpecker! But at least I will go from this life to the next doing something I am really growing to love!


Vicki said...

That's cool that you are noticing nature and enjoying something you never really did before. My 14 year old daughter is a huge birder and before she got into it a few years ago, I honestly can say I never really even noticed birds.

Now I find myself scoping out birds when I see them. It is very fun and awesome to see all that God has created. Enjoy!

Bruce Illsley said...

Bird Watching..and potential injury in the process..When did we get OLD?
"How did you break both your wrists Pastor Scott?" Are you really going to say "I was attached by a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker Woodpecker" or will it have more of a flavor of
"When Nature Attacks, I had to protect my precious Bride"