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our budding birder

a few weeks ago mdh got a bird feeder.  but not just any kind of bird feeder–it’s the squirrel buster bird feeder.  miss e waited by the window with much anticipation, but for two days we didn’t see any birds come by to take a morsel.  she even had her little east-west all the backyard birds guide book on hand.

finally, on the third day we started seeing some house finches show up.  but that’s all we kept seeing, red headed male finches, spotted female finches, and nobody else.  i was getting bored (yes, already).  certain ones kept coming by so frequently i was able to identify them individually.

on the morning of the fourth day as i was in the bathroom getting ready miss e comes running in to tell me she saw a “small grey bird with a crest.”  and then she made a crest by putting her palms together on top of her head.    she even found the titmouse in her guide book and showed me, “this one.”  i didn’t believe her, since all i saw were the house finches.  i thought maybe she was pretending to see a different bird since it was getting a bit boring with only the finches coming to the feeder.  she went and told her dad too.  he didn’t believe her either.

then mdh went to have some breakfast and while he was sitting down to have his cereal he saw the titmouse at the feeder!  miss e did actually see the titmouse and so very accurately identified it.  so now you can imagine mdh’s excitement in seeing some other bird other than the house finches, and even more excited because his daughter had identified a bird even before the adults saw it.  the titmouse is a skittish kind of bird so i didn’t get to see it for myself until the following day.

the titmouse is a cute bird, and yes, it’s small, grey, and has a crest.

so far we’ve seen house finches, titmouse (would the plural be titmice?), chestnut-backed chickadees, scrub jays, mourning doves, house sparrows, and california towhees visit our backyard.  oh yeah, and busy squirrels trying to get to the bird feeder.



(this post was requested by mdh, because he’s a proud papa and he wanted to record this moment.  he’s been talking about training our kids to be birders even before we had kids.  he asked me to write this down a few days after miss e saw the titmouse, but i kept putting it off.  since today is father’s day it feels like it’s a good day to tell the story.)


One thought on “our budding birder

  1. hey, esther. amy (chen) here. i love little vignettes about elizabeth :). i’ve got one for you about danica–something also nature-based, but not quite as “intellectual.” i took the two girls out on a walk in a local park this morning. danica noticed a small snail making it’s way across the path. she proceeded to poke it with a finger. i told her to just look with her eyes, and “would you like it if someone poked you?” then she went into turbo-poking mode until the snail curled up into its shell. danica was finally satisfied, but she asked me if we can take it home with us so she can have a pet snail. i said, ewww, no! she also asked if snails have mommies. i said we’ll look it up at home, then we didn’t 🙂

    as for birds, we have a medium-sized tree in our front yard. i’ve suspected that there’s a nest of cardinals up there, since there’s always a red bird or two dropping down from the tree. there’s also a ton of bird poop in the same spot on our driveway. (Side story: Eric had to park on the driveway last night, right over that spot. This morning: poop on his car and lots of it.) And then there’s the same exact frantic chirping at about 3 a.m. every morning (don’t ask me how I know…let’s just say the last semester of school was rough.)

    we’ve never had a birdfeeder, but we did have gargantuan and very aggresive weed “trees” in our neglected backyard with beautiful, vibrant purple/fuchsia flowers. these almost fluorescent yellow birds would fly in by the flock and eat whatever those flowers held. those birds were a treat to behold, but not worth the weeds.

    i remember a blog post i came across a while ago, about making “bird cookies” with a kid: http://blog.mamaliberated.com/sew_liberated/2011/06/bird-cookies.html
    maybe elizabeth might like to do that(?).

    this is long (to make up for the emails i *didn’t* write, right?!!), but i recall another little story. when peter was living with matthew in the front house, apparently there was a birdfeeder outside peter’s window. unfortunately, it was accessed by a squirrel and peter felt compelled to deter its continued presence with a handy tennis racket–the same racket that always remained bedside, just in case a random intruder appears off the streets in the middle of the night. peter’s roommate camilo may have assisted (with the squirrel). how i miss the strange happenings in berkeley! aside from the frequent thunderstorm and occasional tornado warnings, things are sometimes a little too calm here in rural central illinois.

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