Sunday, January 4, 2009


Today felt like being visited by an angel, granted a dive-bombing angel, but a gift from Heaven nevertheless.

All the little birds welcome food. The sparrows fought over shelled peanuts. Yes, they can carry the whole huge nut off to enjoy in private. They know how to line up politely for a bagel treat. And the cardinals seem to ask, "Anything for me today?"

I did see the hawk, same tree as before. I did get take-off, but I'm not good at this. Trees are in the way and a zoom lens would be a better tool.

But the "Angel" treat was a titmouse. I was tossing whole nuts to a couple of scamp squirrels when the titmouse strafed me, honest to God pecked me on the shoulder, then on the back of my head. The message was clear, "Feed me too!" I got out nut bits and held them in my open hand and the titmouse flew right into my hand, looked me in the face, studied the various pieces of peanut, picked the largest piece, looked at me again, and took it away. I've experienced this before, not the dive-bombing, but the hand selection. I ached for someone to come along with a camera. There's no way I can photograph this as it's going on. I waited a while. The titmouse came back and nipped me again on the side of my head. I presented my hand. This time the little bird sat in my hand and ate. I couldn't believe my eyes. Peck, peck, peck. It ate half a kernel then started on the next peanut. That was at least two minutes of eating. I wouldn't have cared if it had pecked my hand, but it didn't. A second titmouse tried to land on my hand, but the angel flashed at it and scared it away. My food!!! It ate two halves, looked at me again and then flew off with a whole kernel. Finally, a guy came along with a camera and telephoto lens. He took some pictures and he said he'd send me results via e-mail. Then I gave him some nut kernels and showed him how to hold his hand and the titmouse came back and ate from his hand so I could get a few pictures. Very often the small birds will come and take something and then fly off. To have a bird demand food and then stay and eat in your hand is so extraordinary, so magical, so trusting, so beautiful. I would not have been surprised if this little character had sat on my head and waited for the chow to appear. I'll return to this spot again. I have a feeling that this little bird knows me.

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