There’s always been a fair bit of wildlife at the cottage, but this year there seems to be more birds than past years. And there’s a new species in the neighbourhood: a family of Eastern Phoebes. Sayornis phoebe is a species of flycatcher and these have made a nest on the mast of our sailboat that’s hanging under the eaves of the cottage. (Needless to say, we’re not doing a whole lot of sailing right now.)
The map in our bird book indicates that we’re within the summer range for the species, but this is the first time in the roughly 25 years that my parents have owned the cottage that we’ve seen them. Being flycatchers, we’re quite happy to have them around and hope that they’ll return next year.
And, as always, there’s a plethora of red squirrels and chipmunks, all of whom have realized that there’s absolutely no need for them to forage and fend for themselves because the humans in the neighbourhood are quite happy to provide a virtually infinite amount of sunflower seeds for them to squirrel away (small pun intended).
My parents feed these critters around 20 kilograms of striped sunflower seeds each summer. (They don’t like the black sunflower seeds and will literally turn their noses up at them.) The amazing thing about this is that there isn’t a field of sunflowers because though they go to great lengths to hide the seeds, they don’t remember where they hide all of them.