From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: I don't like to brag, but one thing I can say for Kimberly and me -- we have some really awesome friends and neighbors.
For example, in our neighborhood there's a young lady named Delaney, an elementary school student with a sharp mind and a lot of artistic talent. Recently she has developed a strong interest in birds and other nature subjects, and she has been studying them and learning fast. As evidence of her powers of observation, a single Pine Siskin showed up in the neighborhood last month, and Delaney spotted it before Kim or I did. And her enthusiasm must be contagious, because her parents, John and Tiffanie, are now paying more attention to birds also.
We had had a number of conversations about birds with their family, and we had given them a couple of copies of our field guides, but we were stunned and thrilled recently when they knocked at the door and presented us with a beautiful, hand-made, personalized bird feeder that they had made just for us.
Here's another view of the feeder, hanging up outside and filled with seed, ready to attract birds.
Does the feeder work? Does it ever! We had just filled the feeder and put it up outside (and photographed it, of course), and come back inside the house, when we glanced out the winter and saw that an American Goldfinch was already checking it out:
Within a few minutes, the goldfinches were all over it. (Sorry about the picture quality -- I just grabbed the camera and the telephoto and was banging away at the feeder, through two panes of dirty window glass. These are documentation photos, not works of art like the feeder itself.)
Delaney and her family told us that they have started making bird feeders for other friends as well, so don't be surprised if you start seeing these elegant feeders popping up all over the place. And this talented family is pursuing an interest in birds beyond the backyard, too. Earlier today (Saturday February 19) I was out at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, looking at a distant eagle nest, and our neighbors pulled up to say hello. The whole family was out looking for birds on the refuge, and they had even brought along a couple of friends to enjoy the day.
Thanks to Delaney and Tiffanie and John for the beautiful bird feeder, and for sharing the excitement of birds with us!