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Right in my Own Backyard - Treats for the Eyes - by Brandt Carter
posted: May 04, 2023

Right in my Own Backyard header

Treats for the Eyes
Some days, just looking out the window can be an adventure. You don't always have to get on a plane or travel miles to experience a moment that inspires, interests, or takes your breath away. I have had those occasions - "Kodak" moments - and these "snapshots" are forever in my memory and among the stories of my home.
There's one such day that comes to mind as an illustration. During a stressful week, I had taken a vacation day. It was late afternoon, and I had just come in from filling a feeder and spreading a thick layer of black oil sunflower seed in the tray feeder outside my backyard window. While making a few phone calls, flashes of red and bronze caught my attention. I turned and started counting ─ two, three, four bright red male cardinals mobbing the seeds in the tray feeder. Scanning trees surrounding the feeding station, I counted the drab females perched awaiting their turn for sunflower seed. My amazement and awe grew as I tallied ─ fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. Then I simply stopped counting and enjoyed this chorus of cardinals. WOW! I had never seen such a sight. I banked the thrill.
I also recall one crisp March day. The berry trees that line our driveway were attacked by a flock of cedar waxwings. What a show it was to see these birds that resemble female cardinals picking off the last fruits after winter. I think, too, of the season's first hummingbird sightings. Last year we were captivated by several pairs that frequented our nectar feeder. From feedings that seemed to happen on some internal hummingbird schedule to aerial dive bombing as fellow hummers competed at feeders, these tiny creatures gave us hours of enjoyment and stories to share with others.
Whether the moment holds 10-20 goldfinches perched on our garden's sunflowers or a Cooper's Hawk balancing on our wood fence with an unfortunate catch in his grasp, our backyard can be the home of the "Wild Kingdom." I never cease to be amazed by the marvels that are as close as my own backyard. How about you?

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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