Birds & Blooms

Birds are our friends—right? Sometimes though, it is hard for me to describe my feelings about birds. I am married to a bird lover, who has a mother who is a bird lover, and I only discovered in my 20s how much I enjoyed birds too. (My mother never let me keep any pet birds because of their noise and their mess making.) But I am talking about pet birds now, and not wild ones, and that opens up a whole different set of feelings.
The Dude, our old bald Senegalese parrot from the Oregon Humane Society. We adopted him with a female Senegalese we named Pretty Bird. She is now living with my mother-in-law and The Dude moved to a home with an indoor aviary. They were our first therapeutic foster kids since they were older birds who had been neglected and did not like people much. Their anxiety levels were the worst I have ever seen and our cats were traumatized by the whole experience. Parrots falling into this state just breaks my heart. I am happy though that we helped them both by praising their individual talents. The Dude loved to dance and we loved to watch him listen to music. Pretty Bird is much more complicated though. To put it simply, she would make a great old school nun at my Catholic grade school.
We live in the Great Northwest and it is fairly well known that our access to wild birds is really quite incredible. I have travelled and camped in many of the greatest bird watching areas in Washington, Oregon and Idaho and yet I have not done so to watch the birds. Since I am chronically ill, and can sit and watch virtually anything for long lengths of time, none of this makes a great deal of sense. My New Year’s resolution is to work on this and to include more bird watching outings with some of the kids who come to our home as Therapeutic Respite Foster kids. Not all of them will enjoy this activity, so for their enjoyment, and for ours too, we are going to begin close to home with our bird watching.
Last weekend we visited one of the Backyard Bird Shop stores in the Portland Metro Area. I love these stores, and my husband had never been to one, so we took one of our animal loving kids.

If I’d had more money, I would have bought a lot, but instead I chose some basic items: new suet cakes with mealworms embedded in them, gourmet food for the winter birdies, and a bird ID pamphlet for anyone who wants to use it.

I think that  all of these should be interesting for the winter birds, and I plan to let you all know what is popular in the neighborhood. Since we have two very large Douglas firs on our property, and a large park full of adult trees up above us on the extinct volcano, there are plenty of birds hanging out year round. I only want to keep the occupants happy so that they will keep my garden in order.

Lastly, this is my first Amaryllis bulb ever and my first bloom. Enjoy it as you have enjoyed your own!

Hippeastrum “Picotee” aka Amaryllis

PS: For those of you who wanted to see the French King Cake, I was too ill to make one this year, but I have heard that my favorite local French bakery is making them throughout the month of January so I am going to check into this.

5 thoughts on “Birds & Blooms

  1. Moving to our place near downtown I have realized the lack of birdsong. Thanks for reminding me of the nature bird stores. I will see if I can find some snacks to bring the birds into the garden.


  2. Whenever I hear one's interest in birds as pets or in the wild, I think of how fortunate I am to be here on Lake Michigan where in Spring and Fall literally thousand of birds migrate right outside my windows. I often think of the Native Americans who lived here years ago and the abundance they saw as they fished and walked these shores. It is always nice to find another who so appreciates and enjoys our feathered friends.
    One of the high points each day is to see the Bald Eagle come each morning, year round, to fish right out my living room window, very nice. Two years ago I watch the parents teach both the new young how to fish – very very interesting.
    If you want to view the habitat around here at the gardens, check out on Google search I love your area of the country and I love this one.


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