For years now, I have been feeling the loss of my Chickadees (possessive aren’t I?) from the winter temps. Up here on the mountain, it gets wicked cold and stays that way for days on end. (One year it was below zeroF for 3 solid weeks.) I yearned for some sort of winter roosting box, to give them protection. One year, Santa brought me 3 beautiful woven grass roosting baskets that I think he picked up in England , but the birds didn’t use them and they ended up rotting. Pity, really, they were charming.
Then last year my sister (laying her finger beside her nose and with a tip from Santa) gave me this convertible Chickadee nesting/roosting box. The door lifts open easily and you can flip it to have the opening at the top or bottom depending if you are using it as a nesting or roosting house. Cool, huh. This is the first year I have used it for winter roosting. ( Yes, yes the bottom perch is a stick, I lost one of the dowels and had to improvise.)
I am happy to say I have a flock of 14, count them, 14 Chickadees happily living in my backyard now and eating me out of house and home.
I just love the name. Skylands. It rings of long vistas and a sort of mythology; like it is a place where eagles live. And if you were to drive up to Skylands and the NJ State Botanical Gardens you would indeed find eagles. 5000 pound eagles. And they are festooned with holiday finery at this time of year. There is an annual gala fundraiser and volunteers dress up Skylands, the manor house at the gardens for the holidays. This year’s theme was “A Traditional Holiday”. Apparently that also means wreathing the eagles (think lions at NY Public Library). These eagles, for there are two of them, one on either side of the entrance to the gardens, graced the facade of Pennsylvania Station in New York City for 53 years. The building was demolished in 1965 and the pink granite eagles were scattered around the country. They are intended, I believe to look fierce, but this one only looks worried or maybe chagrined to me. Perhaps he is afraid he looks like a dork wearing a wreath.
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While browsing the book table at the local bird festival way back in the summer, I came across the large-print version of the Peterson’s guide. I picked it up to flip through thinking of my mother but more my sister. She is always searching for her reading glasses. The descriptive paragraph has much less information but the picture of the bird, the map and text is large enough to read without glasses. This is perfect for the kitchen when a flicker of movement out the window pulls your eyes away from the tedious chopping of sticky dates for all of those Christmas cookies. (You do keep binoculars on the kitchen counter, right?)
I immediately called sis on the cell phone to ask if she thought this might be a good gift for mom for Christmas. She loved the idea. But you and I both know who will be using it most…not my 77 year-old mother. Good thing we also bought her a new … oops best not say. Ya never know.
It is nice to be from a family of bird lovers.