Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Mid Life Crisis is for the Birds

You heard it right. I will be 40 in a couple of weeks and instead of a new sports car or a face lift, I opted for some new binoculars. I just got them and can't wait to try them out tomorrow morning from my kitchen window. I am hoping the white throat ed sparrow I saw this morning will be there so I can get a better look at him. I am both amazed and proud that I can identify one sparrow from another today because just 6 months ago I never really gave much thought to birds and could only identify a few of them.

To me birds were cute little critters, but I was far too busy with my hectic lifestyle to pay much attention to them. That all changed during May of this year when I got into gardening again. My neighbors have a beautiful garden so I went over there for ideas and saw birds I had never paid attention to before. I saw my first hummingbird, goldfinch and chickadee and I found it very exciting. Here I was 39 years old and I didn't know what a chickadee was. Was I living in a cave?? No, I was living in my office, my car and my home. I was so focused on getting things done, that I didn't have time to pay attention to birds or gardens or even the weather at times. That was about to change!

Off I went to Home Depot and bought myself a hummingbird feeder and other feeders and set up shop!

To my amazement the birds came immediately. I always had birds in my yard and never noticed it. Not only did I get the usual back yard birds who appreciate a feeder full of BOSS, but I also had Cedar Waxwings, Baltimore Orioles and even a hawk!!! You see I had all of these trees in my yard that I never paid much attention to either.

I moved into my home four years ago and with it came some of the weirdest trees I had ever seen. One had them strange berries that were white and would drop from the tree and onto my driveway and would make a mess of my shoes and my car. There was another tree that was huge that had these berries that looked like blueberries, but I wasn't sure, and the area behind my garage was so neglected that it had vines and berries all over the place and looked like a jungle.

I found out this year that the tree with white berries is a mulberry tree. From what I have read, this is the tree of all tress if you want to attract birds! I was out one afternoon, digging dirt and I looked up at the tree because I could hear a lot of bird commotion. I saw these brown birds, with yellow wing tips and black eye markings making a faint whistling sound. I looked in my guide and read that they were cedar waxwings. I called my neighbors in an excited furry and they thought I was probably mistaken (HA, being a first time birder and all, they told me it was probably a robin or something as they had never had waxwings in their yard before). I urged them to come over to see for themselves and sure enough I was right, they were cedar waxwings. We also saw Baltimore orioles feasting from the tree that day and a variety of other birds.

I found out that the large tree with the berries that look like blueberries is a privet tree. I still have robins feasting off of them and I love to watch them eating from my kitchen window because the weather is getting cold and it makes me feel good to know that the robins are still getting a decent meal.

Yes both the mulberry tree and the privet tree are considered weeds (and even invasive) to some, but I wouldn't part with them. The birds love them and so do I.

I have started this blog in an effort to record some of my sightings and observations on birds and nature in general. I have lived the last 20 years of my life in the rat race we call life. I was neurotic, stressed and not happy and needed to slow down. It took a little lone chickadee to remind me of that and for this I will always be grateful. Thank you little chickadee wherever you are.


Jayne said...

Awwwww... Kallen, how cool!!! I love this post! I am so happy for you that you have found the most natural way in the world to make yourself smile and relax. What a gift it is. I will be tuning into your sweet blog and can't wait to hear of your adventures. Thanks for linking my blog too. I'll add you to my favs as well. Welcome birding friend! :c)

Kallen305 said...


I loved your blog from the moment I saw it. I saw my firt blue bird this past weekend and they were as sweat looking as the blue birds on your blog page.

I am going back this weekend to see if they are still there or further down south by now.

Anonymous said...

My mom is an avid bird watcher, too! I wish I could talk her into starting a blog to post the photos she takes and record the stories she has to share, but so far I haven't had any luck convincing her that blogging is not complicated.

...and 40 is still YOUNG! Glad you got your new binoculars! (so much better than the BIFOCALS I need!)

fritz said...

Dear Kallen,

We have a lot of wildlife where we live now. I have managed to buy the material and make a squirrel guard that really works. If you would be interested, e-mail me at

The "no spam" is to confuse the mail-bots that go around gathering more e-mail addresses. Just leave it out when you write.

Diane said...

I came over from Jayne's and I enjoyed your story about the chickadee. We have them too and they're a delight. If you listen you can hear one call (it almost sounds like here kitty) then in a distance you'll hear another one answer.

Mary said...

Kallen, I came from Jayne's blog. I'm over a decade older than you, but led the same type of hurried lifestyle until two years ago. I had always loved feeding birds, but I came to love photographing them really knowing them! I'm still always in a hurry but now I finally have a hobby - a way to de-stress.

I enjoyed your entries here!


A New England Life said...

Funny you would write a post on this particular topic because just this morning at 7:30 as I was driving around to take pictures of birds, deer, or whatever else I might come across, I couldn't help but think how many people don't experience the joys of nature.

I was raised watching birds as were my girls, but so many people don't know a Cardinal from a Blue Jay. One blog I went onto the woman said she thought Cardinals were a 'made up' bird until someone told her they were real! lol! Isn't that sad?

So you have a blog, great writing skills, new binoculars, now you just need a great camera to capture it all!

Thank you for adding me to your blog roll!

: )



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