My favorite bird watching spot is my porch. From it I'm able to observe three feeding stations, each providing a variety of feathered visitors. One feeder holds a block of suet and also attracts a number of visitors, including two species of woodpecker, the catbird, and the brown thrasher. It's the "fox-colored thrush" that really catches my attention.
What makes the brown thrasher so special is his dining habits. When he's finished eating, he'll drop to the ground and clean up all the bits of suet that have fallen. While some birds may be messy diners, it's not the brown thrasher -- he's a member of the bird "Clean Plate Club."
The northern cardinal's vocalization sounds like a bird's chirp that's had an axe taken to it. It barely begins before it comes to an abrupt halt. Having learned to identify him by sound, when I put food out for him, I'm able to track his movements from his home in a tree across the street to my feeder.
Leaving the tree he roosts in, the cardinal will proceed to a tree branch on my side of the street, on to a telephone wire by the house, followed by a quick flutter of wings, to the edge of the roof, and finally down to the feeder, where his meal awaits him. By using caution and determining who is friend or foe, the red bird will return again and again to dine within a few feet of me -- much to my delight.
Uncle Bear is a writer and researcher in North Carolina. He can be reached through: