She’s Not A Bird Dog — She’s A Bird Monitor!

One of my favorite things about spring is filling the bird feeders. I know that it would probably make more sense to fill the bird feeders during winter when the birds are far less likely to have an abundance of food, but for selfish reasons I typically only feed them in the spring.

Spring is when I have time to sit and enjoy watching the birds at the feeder. There are feeders set up along the back of our house so that no matter where I’m sitting, whether it’s in the kitchen nook, the dining room, or at my desk in the great room, I have a view of a bird feeder. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the birds find the feeders even after months of them being empty. It takes less than an hour before the first sparrow visits.

Besides myself enjoying all the activity at the bird feeders, Bell enjoys it just as much. She will sit at the back door staring at the birds flying from feeder to feeder for hours. If it’s warm enough and I put her cushion out on the chair, she will sit there even longer.

One thing about Bell though, she is not a bird dog…she is a bird monitor. She lets me know when there are birds at the feeders, but has never tried to catch them. Just by the position of her ears, she tells me when there are or aren’t birds at the feeder.

If her ears are down, this means there aren’t any visitors. But when her ears go half way up, ahhh, then you know there’s activity.

Ears are getting perky – definitely activity at the bird feeder.

Bell has never chased any of the birds in our yard. In fact she’ll walk by the bird feeder and quite often the birds won’t even leave. She will walk within two feet of them, and they just keep on feeding.

When I fill the feeders, birds are not the only visitors we receive. Unfortunately there is an abundance of squirrels in our neighborhood and the minute those feeders are filled, the squirrels are determined to get their share. To their utter disappointment, however, Bell will have none of that. You see, as much as Bell is a bird monitor, she is even more so of a squirrel evictor.

When her ears perk up as high as her ears perk

and she stands on her hind legs to look out the door

This is when you know a squirrel is nearby. She runs to the sliding door and chases those squirrels out of our yard.

This goes on all day long. I have seen as many as three squirrels at one time in our little plum tree trying to get into the bird feeder, but the minute Bell bounds out the door, they scatter. Bell especially likes it when she traps a squirrel in the tree. She will pace around the tree, run up and down the patio, and try her hardest to climb up the tree trunk for however long it takes that squirrel to get up enough nerve to bolt out of the tree and over into the security of our neighbors fenced-in yard. One morning Hubby and I watched her happily keep a squirrel captive in the tree for 45 minutes before she finally walked far enough away from the tree for the squirrel to make its escape. She certainly slept good that afternoon.

This squirrel escaped to our neighbors roof and sat there growling at Bell for the longest…

Bell definitely has a job! She doesn’t bother the birds, but is sure to chase away those pesky squirrels. The fact that she’s a bird monitor rather than a bird dog is something I am truly – Simply Grateful for!

All clear – Just Bell and the birds!


Summer Beginnings

Today was the first “summer-like” day of 2014 here in Michigan.  The bugs were buzzing, the birds were singing,  the flowers blooming, and the sun was shining.  A perfect day to be outside enjoying the gifts of nature.

A ladybug checking out my laundry hanging on the line.

A ladybug checking out my laundry hanging on the line.

Hanging laundry on the line, spreading fresh mulch in the flower beds, cleaning out the gardens — and way too much sun.  I always forget the sunscreen on the first summery day of the year — one of these days I’ll remember, just not today

Mr. Robin watching as I worked.

Mr. Robin watching as I worked.

It was amazing how many birds were hanging around and chirping.  It was borderline “loud.”  The game of chase that the wood sparrows played, the red-tailed hawks soaring high above my head, and the blue jays squawking in the trees, and the chimney swifts darting about kept me company all day long.

The first open blossom on the plum tree.  Looks like I'm canning plums this summer!

The first open blossom on the plum tree. Looks like I’m canning plums this summer!

There are a ton of flowers itching to bloom.  I bet by tomorrow there will be lots more blooming.

There are a ton of flowers itching to bloom. I bet by tomorrow there will be lots more blooming.

The bloom I took a picture of opened up early afternoon and I had to stand on a ladder to get it.  It was the only one open on the whole tree.  By the end of the day the tree had at least 50 blooms wide open.

The bulbs around the plum tree continue to grow and although they are few, their scent fills the back patio with sweetness.

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The lawn needs cutting, but because of the terrible storms we had last night, it was too drenched to try.  My husband is not going to be happy because the dandelions are getting ready to seed.  I think it looks pretty, even if it does mean we’ll have yellow in our lawn all summer.  Some weeds are just too pretty to be without.

Maybe tomorrow this dandelion will have a puff for a neighbor -- then I can make a wish!

Maybe tomorrow this dandelion will have a puff for a neighbor — then I can make a wish!

The lilacs are still not blooming, but one particular bumblebee keeps visiting — waiting for those tiny flowers to open up for him to suck out the sweet nectar.  I tried really hard to get him to turn around for a picture, but he was not very cooperative.  I sort of felt like he was mooning me.

It was a great day to add fresh mulch to the flower beds and clean out a few small garden spots.  If the weather holds, tomorrow I’ll tackle the big garden so it will be ready for planting mid-month.  For now, I am happy that the plum tree has flowers so we’ll have plums for fresh plum pie, plum pie filling, and plums in syrup, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.