Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lighting Up

Despite the birds' initial protests, the outdoor lighting is complete and finally illuminated: nearly 5,000 multi-colored twinkle lights adorn every window, gutter, and eave of the house, along with each tree in the front, and more than two dozen smaller lit trees are placed around borders for the season. While a halogen streetlight in front of the house washes out some of the seasonal glow, our home is a beacon to holiday revelers just as it is a beacon to birds.

And yet, the birds must appreciate the lights as well, because as soon as the project was completed the guest populations in the backyard soared. In the past week, in addition to the regular house sparrow and house finch residents, dark-eyed juncos, American goldfiches, and pine siskins have resumed their regular visits to our tasty feeders, and Spook -- our sharp shinned hawk -- has flown by looking for some tasty feed of his own. A voluable flock of robins also paused for a respite in the yard.

While some days are more barren in the backyard than others, on the days when the feeder is popular it seems as though the small trees and the brush pile are decorated all on their own, with living, breathing ornaments with fluttering feathers and chirping carols. Tis the season.

There are only a few days left before Christmas: what birding gifts are on your wish list? Vote in the December poll!

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