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One of the things I’m trying to do with our house, especially since we have some extra land and space around us, is make it a friendly environment for some critters. I put out a couple of bird feeders, and while their popularity has faded a bit, there were times this Spring when we had 50 or 60 birds at a time. It was pretty interesting watching the social rules – the female blackbirds ate together, but gave way to the males. The cardinals came and went, the bluejays irritated the other birds. The mockingbirds drove other birds away and the doves just walked around oblivious to the others.

The squirrels love to try to get at the bird feeders, and they delight in playing hide-and-seek with Winston the Shiba. So far Winston hasn’t caught one. So far.

I put up a couple of bat houses, but no bats this year. I’m hoping for a colony of bats next year.

But the triumph so far has been the hummingbirds. I put out a couple of feeders for them, but had not noticed any activity. Then early in August, we started to see a hummingbird at one of the feeders. We got out our bird guides and binoculars and paid more attention. Sightings became more and more frequent. We started to think there might be different little birds around. We added two more feeders at the front to go with the ones in the back. Sure enough, we started to see two or three at a time, more and more often.

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What marvelous creatures they are! No bigger than my thumb and able to move faster than my eye can follow. One likes to sit on a feeder perch for minutes at a time, and if one of the others comes near he will chase it away. We have aerial dogfights between these speedy birds, moving with direction changes that would tear a helicopter apart. And when I see them, I always remind them to tell their friends – our hummingbird hospitality mat is always out!

Here’s a link to some more amazing pictures of hummingbirds.

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