Because of the danger of bears we keep our garbage can strapped from March to November. Once mid-November rolls around we can let go of the straps, and at the same time we go through the annual ritual of hanging the bird feeding paraphernalia back on the bird tree.
The bird tree is a dead upside down cedar trunk, roots in the air as branched hanging device for bird feeders and suet cages, that my husband found in the woods a few years ago. With great effort we had lugged it back through the woods and down the steep incline towards the house. There we placed it in a planting bed exactly opposite the big window through which we look out into nature while we sip our morning tea. During the winter months, weekend paper reading goes hand in hand with bird watching, and while the rest of nature is gray-brown and dormant, our bird tree is alive and teeming with activity and color.
Many years ago a bird lover friend talked passionately about Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Cedar Waxwings, names I found profoundly silly and contortedly long. But here we are, trying to identify and name them, the Black-capped Chickadees, the Tufted Titmouse, the Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, the huge Pileated Woodpeckers who make a rare appearance, the Mourning Doves, the big Blue Jays and of course the beautiful Northern Cardinals, males in bright red uniform, females with a red beak and only subtle wisps of red here and there on their tan plumage. The squirrels have of course found the bird feeders and hang upside down in acrobatic postures from the bird tree to snatch some seeds.
Live entertainment, a true reality show.