How can I possibly describe what I saw outside my kitchen window just before sunset yesterday afternoon to give you some idea of how spectacular it was? I wish Marie (Blue Ridge Blog), Jim (Smokyblog), or Ana (Views of the Northeast) were here. They would know how to take a picture of the flock of blue grosbeaks feeding on our “lawn” and bring an individual bird up for you to see. There were several dozen of the males, interspersed with their less colorful mates. Soon the cardinals caught on and I was looking at a sea of red and blue in the fading light.
There is no homeowner’s association to decree landscaping guidelines (rules) here in the woods, so we are free to do as we like. Instead of a traditional lawn, we plant a mixture of rye, wheat and oats. It’s pretty in the winter and provides food for deer and rabbits. At this time of year, the wheat “heads out”, making a tasty meal for flocks of birds that come from miles around.
Doves are too heavy to perch on the slender stems. Even the cardinals and grosbeaks take a position on a wheat plant, grab a mouthful of seed, and ride the stem as it bends to the ground. I stood at the window, binoculars pressed to my face, until a sound spooked the birds. Their sudden synchronized swoosh blinded my binocularized eyes for a moment. They were gone. Every single one.
Maggie watched the show, too. A few minutes earlier, she flushed a dove who had run into the screen door. Fortunately, the bird regained its senses and flew before Maggie scooped it up.