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Old Cowbelle: Bird Watching

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Some of God's greatest gifts to us, free for the looking, are the colorful birds we see here in Wisconsin. Especially in the spring when many of them have returned from wherever they went during the winter months.

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I have one feeder fastened to the overhang near the dining room window. I also have a plastic dish fastened to the deck railing for serving up grape jelly to the orioles.

It's not only orioles that come to that dish; the rose breasted gross beaks and warblers and woodpeckers and even several robins gobble it up.

It's sometimes hard to find inexpensive grape jelly since other bird watchers also buy it up. I like to find the cheap brand since the birds are not very discriminating. They do eat any kind of jelly or jam that's offered. (Kind of an expensive hobby.)

Besides the bright orange Baltimore orioles, I have enjoyed seeing the orchard orioles, cardinals, blue jays, nut hatches, chickadees, gold finches, juncos, a blue gross beak, phoebes, an indigo bunting, a red start, many different kinds of warblers, and of course the cowbirds and sparrows.

I looked on the internet to find out about warblers and the heading for the birds said ...Passerine birds. Not knowing what that meant, I found in the dictionary that it means any birds that perch on high places, unlike waterfowl. Never too old to learn.

I wonder if the reason they like the grape jelly so much is because...when God created all of those birds so long ago, he also provided vineyards where they could feed. Then, when vineyards became scarce, someone decided to try the grape jelly. And it became the "thing to do." (Fantasizing again.) Wouldn't it be fun to see how He did that, one feather at a time, or just wiggle His nose, and they came into being?

The whole scene here on my deck is spoiled once in a while, when a little red squirrel dashes along the logs and jumps up onto the hanging feeder. He is not one bit afraid of me when I pound on the window or yell at him. He just sits there, munching away, staring right back at me. I try squirting him with water or bug spray, but he just goes around to the other side where it can't reach him/her. The little red stinker also raids the jelly dish.

I am glad it cannot get into the hummingbird feeder. It would if it could. I know I need to have one of the men folk get rid of him because I can't do it. I see him sitting there eating frantically and I think "maybe it has babies somewhere that need food." And he/she is cute.

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This week has been so cloudy and drab and chilly, it's hard not to be depressed. BUT...we just need to remember that behind all those clouds and rainy skies, that old sun is shining somewhere. And sooner or later, it will find its way here to El Paso! Then we will appreciate it all the more, missing it for so long. (And it will be hot and humid and we will be whining about that!) Human nature, it's hard to figure us out.

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We offer our heartfelt sympathy to the family of Nick Jahnke, his parents Jeanne and Lowell, and family and friends. Also to Theresa Boardman and her family in the passing of her husband.

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