Human Nature Nuggets

Unlike sheer instinct, human nature involves individual thought as to how we should handle or improve various situations. As homo sapiens, we never know what will happen as a result, but each of us tries by doing what we think is the best solution. Here are some examples…

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

I am a writer at heart, a proofreader by trade, but without a soul if it were not for the nuthatches crawling down my trees, the robins, chickadees, cardinals, and yes, the much-maligned jibbering starlings that create their own unique concerts. I have wildflowers and perennials squeezed into my front and back yards and along the curb of my house in the city. My greatest job: I was a reporter for a locally-based newspaper, where I wrote human interest and news articles, but now I am a freelance writer, both online and in print. See MY ONLINE ARTICLES on how to ATTRACT BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES, and the HEALTHIEST NATURAL FOODS at my contributor page

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Tale for the Birds

One of my favorite pastimes this time of year is going into my front and back yards and immersing myself in the sounds, sights and scents of nature; not only watching my plants grow, but thrilling over the wildlife that, while passing over, lights down and uses my yards as a resting place, knowing it’s a safe and fulfilling haven. Our city lot isn’t big, but it’s more than enough for them.

The problem is, I haven’t been able to go into my back yard as freely as usual lately. I have to look out the windows first, because I hang my various bird feeders there, and now it's become a nursery for the birds! All sorts of parents are feeding their fledglings there, and I don’t want to scare them away.

Sometimes I’ll see a little Downy Woodpecker feeding its baby Downy on my suet holder. The parent will take a nip of suet, then stuff it into the wide open mouth of its child, which is clinging onto the holder at the same time.

Other times I’ll see two Common Grackles on my mixed seed feeder, both the exact same size, but while one will have the characteristic iridescent feathers, the other will be all dusky, and it will keep opening its beak wide, while squawking and flapping its wings. Then the glossy one will nab a seed and stuff it into the wing-flapping one's mouth. I've also seen Cardinals feeding their babies there.

Recently, I put cooked macaroni and cheese on the ground because I know Robins love it. Sure enough, I saw a parent Robin grab a piece and shove it into its baby's open beak. Again, the baby was the same size, but it hadn't gotten its orange breast feathers yet.

And then there are the House Finches and Chickadees feeding their babies at my safflower seed feeder. Who knows what I’ll see next?

Talk about having a piece of heaven... My garden has become a haven for butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife, and rising above the flowers are my bird feeders. And now I'm watching the next generation of birds that will soon be feeding there on their own.

Anyone who doesn't dig in the dirt or just pull weeds doesn't know what they're missing. The best stress-relieving balm in the world is right at our feet...and a bit above us, if we also feed the birds.

I’m inviting you to go to my brand new article that describes how you, too, can attract birds to your yard. It includes which seeds attract which birds and which only feed on the ground, which birds love suet, what hummingbirds and orioles revel over, some birds that only eat insects, other ways you can attract birds, and more.

Also, if you’d like some information about attracting butterflies, I have an article at

If you read them and like what I’ve written, I’d so appreciate it if you’d rate them at the top by clicking on one of the options from 1-5. (But for sure, please don’t click on either the “thumbs up” OR “thumbs down” at the bottom by the comments, because either way actually deletes points from my overall rating.)

Meanwhile, from my home and heart to yours, I’m truly wishing you the joy and serenity I’ve found through my yard.

To quote Henry David Thoreau, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately; to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

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Blogger pb said...

The serenity of this entry provided a much-needed break in my very hectic schedule this morning.


6/20/2006 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

What a lovely post! As you know (from reading my blog) I feel the same way about the joy of feeding and watching the birds.

6/21/2006 6:10 AM  
Blogger Imemine said...

I love birds too. Thank you for the article. I'll take the time to read it.

6/21/2006 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Kathie said...

For the past several days I have watched a sparrow feeding a cowbird baby that is bigger then the sparrow. I feel so for the sparrow as it trys to keep the bigger baby bird from sqawking. As painful as it is to know Ms. Sparrow is feeding and caring for another bird's baby, I am awed by nature's ability to draw us in, if we let ourselves be drawn.

6/21/2006 3:33 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Thank you so much, pb, Maureen, imemine, and Kathie. Hope you enjoy my article on attracting birds, too.

Kathie, what a wonderful experience! We always hear about animals raising offspring that aren't their own, and even ones that aren't the same kind of animal. But other than chickens and other fowl, I've never heard of one kind of "wild" bird feeding another kind of wild bird. Amazing, a small sparrow caring for a large baby cowbird. Thanks so much for sharing this!

So true, nature's ability to draw us in, if we let ourselves. Too many people don't, and I think we can tell by their personalities who they are.

6/21/2006 7:15 PM  
Blogger kathy said...

Hi Darlene,

I've been sitting a lot in my backyard enjoying the sun, and i have this black and brown bird that visits (not sure what kind a bird it is)me and perches himself or herself in my fig tree. I think the bird enjoys watching me just as much as me watching him.

6/21/2006 8:21 PM  
Blogger goatman said...

Do you get hummingbirds that far north? If you're tricky you can find the nest, which is tiny tiny!

6/22/2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

This is a wholesome post. My neighbours put out bird feeders but I haven't got around to it yet. I do love watching birds and most of all listening to their song.
Messiaen, the French composer, suggested that birds are the greatest composers on the planet!
I believe their song is incredibly intricate.

6/22/2006 12:26 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Hmmm, neurotic... the only bird I'm aware of offhand that's black and brown is a cowbird, and they are in your area, too. On the males, the head is distinctively brown, while the rest of the body is black, and their beaks are conical (short and shaped for eating seeds, as compared with the long pointed ones on other birds). So that could be what's watching you from your fig tree (while you watch him).

Goatman, we get ruby-throated hummingbirds here in Minnesota, although we don't get them as much in the Twin Cities (about mid-way in MN) as others do who live further up north. They'll pass over and occasionally stop here while migrating, but then they go up north.

Rob, I agree. Birds are indeed the greatest composers on the planet! Many people despise starlings, for example, but they have such a variety of songs, and calls, and pleasant chitter-chatter, I get enthralled listening to them.

6/22/2006 7:19 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

I have feeders, too, and also film birds on our canoeing and camping trips. When we are paddling along, the sounds of the birds makes an enchanting backdrop of sounds. I play these videos while I'm working in my kitchen, just to hear the sounds.

6/23/2006 8:28 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Bonita, what a wonderful idea, especially for in the winter! We keep our windows open most of the time, other than in winter, so we can listen to the birds' music when we're in the kitchen, but with your videos,then you get that much more of a variety of sounds, plus the serenity of the slush as you glide over the water. I've got one of those clocks that plays a different bird's songs on the hour, but they aren't true to life. Thanks for the great idea!

P.S. At our favorite river where we canoe, there are farms further back on the embankments that have cows... so we also hear the lowing of the cattle, which is actually quite peaceful, too!

6/24/2006 3:52 PM  
Blogger Don Iannone said...

Wonderful. Thanks for the heartfelt tips and insights. May your birds be blessed and the same to you.

6/25/2006 8:31 AM  
Blogger PBS said...

Loved your post! I can't wait to get a yard again and plant things to attract birds and butterflies.

6/25/2006 5:54 PM  
Blogger Vonnie said...

Nice post and great article on AC.

6/25/2006 6:01 PM  
Blogger jim said...

I see you have been hard at work Darlene, good stuff too.

kathys' comment about the sparrow, that is the most incredible thought, that little bird taking care of that big baby bird!

And goatmans', never did I think about a hummingbird nest! I bet it is little!

Thanks Darlene, good material. I enjoyed it, here and there.

6/27/2006 11:08 PM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

Hi Darlene, I went and rated when you first published.

Nice to have the birds around, isn't it? We're surrounded by lots of trees, and very close to a creek-valley, so we have a lot of bird-life here, too.

6/28/2006 8:28 AM  
Blogger Rauf said...

Dear Darlene,
I am not supposed to travel faster than the speed of a camel, the ill effects of faster travel show up later. In my case only trains and buses.

What a lovely post Darlene, I read both the articles, so useful for people like me who are interested in birds and butterflies. The article and this post reflects your kindness.

7/03/2006 8:31 PM  
Blogger Zareba said...

Hi Darlene: I hope the candle is not flickering from all that burning. Missing you here. ...z

7/11/2006 12:28 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Darlene, when I said that 'I enjoyed it, here and there.' I meant here at your blog and there at the AC site, I meant that I enjoyed these aricles both places. This one is very good and birds watch me while I watch them, everyday. I enjoy interacting with them. Sometimes they ignore me though, have there own thing going on.

7/23/2006 10:06 PM  
Blogger Megha Sharma said...

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Cherished your post! I can hardly wait to get a yard again and plant things to pull in feathered creatures and butterflies.

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