Posted by: nightmistwalker | January 8, 2017

Return of the Chickadees

Four or five years ago this weekend, I wrote a post about the disappearance of the chickadees at the bird feeders. At that time, I had not seen any, although one or two did appear before the end of winter. I reread that post last night and thought I should give you an update.

Over the years, the chickadees have been slowly returning. I have seen as many as 10 at a time at the feeder this year, down from the flock of at least 20, but certainly better than two. The sparrows, finches, nuthatches, cardinal, and blue jays still continue to come in great numbers. The squirrel population has increased, also.

This year, I received for Yule a squirrel-proof bird feeder. It hangs from a hook, replacing the feeder that the squirrels destroyed last year. (They chewed through the wooden bottom and separated it from the metal mesh sides. All the seeds fell to the ground. Feast Day for Squirrels commenced immediately.) The birds have figured out how to use it at last. I have seen as many as 3 perched on it at a time. (There are perches for six.) Hopefully, this year, the birds will be able to dine unmolested – at least in one location!

The feeding bird population has been joined by a stray cat. She has been around since summer and is slowly being acclimated to me. I have set up a winter shelter for her, which I believe she uses, although she does not let me see her going in and out from it. A friend also built a feeding station, which helps keep large predators away from her food, and which also provides protection from wind, rain, and snow while she is eating. She uses that, too. I have to peek at her from the front door window to see her eat. She knows I am there and will sometimes give me a slow blink in thanks. More often, though, she will startle and back away until she realizes that it is me watching her. Then she will stay in place until I leave. Only then will she go back to the food.

The cat feeding station and the feral cat shelter are both on the front porch. They are on opposite sides of the porch, with the front door about halfway in between. This week, the stray has taken to reclining on the doormat, looking out over the Temple’s front lawn. It is such a peaceful feeling to see her there. The Temple of Gaia has provided sanctuary to another creature. Hopefully, in due time, she will be willing to join the other Feline Priestesses of the Temple.

Trust builds slowly. Trust is earned. This is something we humans need to heed, as well.

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