Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You Had To Bee There

My husband and I feed the birds—both at our home here in St. Peters, MO and at our cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks, MO—although admittedly the Lake cabin is more my husband’s domain.

Even though he religiously feeds our “Lake” birds and loves watching them, he usually doesn’t have the patience to get out the bird I.D. book and look up new species when they come calling.  It’s much easier to call home and try to describe it to me so that I can I.D. it for him from 150 miles away.  Our conversation usually goes something like this…”It’s greenish and about the size of a robin.  What is it?”  Of course, my stock answer is…”I can’t tell from here—take a picture!”

Last week I got one of those calls.  However, this call had a little bit of a twist to it.  Earlier in the day when we talked he told me that the Hummingbird feeder was so covered with bees that he thought he was going to have to take the feeder inside and quit feeding the Hummers.  He said the bees were literally driving the Hummers away from the feeder.  
 The “mystery bird” trying to get to the bee inside the feeder 
Not too long after that I received a “mystery bird” call.  Apparently this “olive greenish” bird had shown up at the feeder and was feasting on the bees.  My husband wanted to know what kind of green bird eats bees.  Of course I gave him my stock answer…”Take a picture”.

That evening he called again to tell me that the bird had spent a good part of the day perched in the nearby trees at the edge of our deck, and every now and then would swoop to the feeder to feast on the bees. By the end of the day the bees were gone—presumably resting snugly in the bird’s belly!  Our Hummingbird feeder is now bee free!  Isn’t Mother Nature amazing?
  Female Summer Tanager (Western Race)  
And…yes…he did take a picture.  Apparently our feeder was a buffet for a female Summer Tanager, western race—a bird that we’ve never seen at our home feeders.

If you live in an urban area where you only see the more common “city” birds, take a ride out to the World Bird Sanctuary.  If you bring your picnic lunch and your binoculars and your bird book you may see some of the more uncommon birds at our bird feeding stations.  There are benches strategically placed for a relaxing session of bird watching.  Spend an hour…or a day.  No fees and no reservations required.

Restrooms are nearby, and once you get tired of watching the songbirds you can stroll down our paved exhibit line.   The birds in our display enclosures are always ready to welcome visitors..

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer

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