May 6 – Birdwatching Bliss

Male American Goldfinch at my window feeder on the Johnson Funny Farm – so close you can see his knobby knees!

One of the greatest pleasures in my life here on the Johnson Funny Farm in rural middle Georgia is birdwatching from the comfy chair by the window in my reading room. Each spring, we deep clean our feeders and add a new type to the all-you-can-eat bird garden buffet. Two years ago, I added four clear acrylic window feeders – and now we each have a coveted seat right by the window, with a front-row view.

The American Goldfinch is one of my favorite visitors. We also have Cardinals, House Finches, Pine Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Black-Capped Chickadees. and different varieties of nuthatches. sparrows, and wrens who love these smaller covered feeders. When it rains, they like to sit “inside” like the kids in The Cat in the Hat and look out their “window.”

We can get so close to our birds that we can see if they are missing any feathers or tell if they might have been in a fight. If we had ever wondered whether birds have tiny teeth, we could tell that, too. We ease up to the window and take a mannequin stance, careful not to throw our breath fog on the glass. The reflection from the outside makes it easy to remain undetected for long periods of time, watching our little frequenters blissfully fill their bellies with seeds, nuts, and berries.

A wide variety of birdseed mixes brings the fanciest charms and flocks and hosts and herds (I’m including a fuller list of specific bird group names at the bottom of this post). I found a chart at Pike Nurseries that has been helpful in matching seed, feeder: and bird type to maximize our traffic. For example, I look at the foot perch size, the encased wire openings for smaller birds, and the opening sizes where the seeds come out. All of those, along with location of the feeders, make a difference in all the species we have been able to attract. When Ace Hardware has a Buy One, Get One Free sale on brand-name birdseed in my small town, they know I’ll be there to get a cart full.

And these winged angels sing the most glorious songs of food blessings to their creator that I want to name them all Little Tommy Tucker!

If your mother doesn’t have a window feeder for the birds, it would make a lovely gift next weekend, along with a variety of seeds! I’ll be filling my feeders and remembering my mother, who shared with me the sheer joy of bird watching.

This chart makes attracting birds easy by telling which types of foods they like.

List of bird group names retrieved from:

Aerie of hawks

Band of jays

Bazaar of guillemots

Bevy of larks

Bevy of quail

Bevy of swans (when in flight)

Boil of hawks (when in flight)

Bouquet of pheasants

Brace of grouse

Brace of pheasants (when dead)

Brood of chicks

Building of Rooks

Bunch of ducks (when on water)

Bunch of waterfowl

Cast of falcons

Cast of hawks

Chain of Bobolinks

Charm of finches

Charm of hummingbirds

Cluster of Knots

Colony of gulls

Colony of vultures

Company of parrots
Squadron of pelicans

Company of widgeon

Concentration of kingfishers

Congregation of plovers

Constable of Ravens

Convocation of eagles

Covert of coots

Covey of grouse

Covey of partridge

Covey of ptarmigan

Deceit of Lapwings

Descent of woodpeckers

Desert of Lapwings

Dissimulation of birds

Dole of doves

Drift of quail

Dropping of ducks (when on water)

Exhaltation of larks

Fall of Woodcock

Flamboyance of Flamingos

Flight of cormorants

Flight of doves

Flight of Goshawks

Flight of swallows

Fling of Dunlins

Flock of birds

Flock of birdwatchers

Flush of Mallards

Gaggle of geese (when on ground)

Gathering of birdwatchers

Gulp of Cormorants

Herd of cranes

Herd of Curlews

Herd of wrens

Horde of crows

Host of sparrows

Huddle of penguins

Jubilee of eagles

Kettle of hawks

Kit of pigeons (when in flight)

Knob of waterfowl

Murder of crows

Murmuration of Starlings

Muster of Peacocks

Muster of turkeys

Mustering of storks

Mutation of thrushes

Nye of pheasants

Ostentation of Peacocks

Pack of grouse

Paddling of ducks (when on water)

Parliament of owls

Parliament of Rooks

Peep of chickens
Chattering of Choughs

Pitiousness of doves

Pitying of turtledoves

Plump of waterfowl

Plump of wildfowl

Quarrel of sparrows

Raft of coots

Raft of ducks (when on water)

Raft of loons

Rafter of turkeys

Richness of Purple Martins

Rookery of penguins

Scold of jays

Sedge of Bitterns

Siege of Bitterns

Siege of cranes

Siege of herons

Skein of geese (when in flight)

Sord of Mallards

Spring of teals

Stand of flamingos

Strand of Silky Flycatchers

Sute of Mallards

Team of ducks (when in flight)

Team of geese (when in flight)

Tiding of magpies

Tittering of magpies

Trembling of finches

Trip of Widgeon

Trip of wildfowl

Trouble of hummingbirds

Unkindness of Ravens

Volery of birds

Walk of snipe

Watch of nightingales

Wdge of swans (when in flight)

Wedge of geese (when in flight)

Whisper of snipe

Whiteness of swans (when in flight)

Wing of plovers

Wisdom of owls

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