There’s a tree in my back yard that’s an incredible social network hub – the original Twitter. At any given moment there are at least twenty species of colorful birds – finches, sparrows, blue birds, cat birds, woodpeckers and cardinals, among others – tweeting each other in a rhythmic serenade of warbling and whistling, some more eloquent than others.
The reason for this particular cacophonous gathering point is a high tech (3.0) protected bird feeder that lets the small and medium-sized birds partake, while keeping the hawks, crows and other larger fowl (who prefer larger prey anyway) – and the chipmunks, squirrels rabbits and other hackers out.
Of all the species that have joined this eco-network, the bird I most follow (other than humming birds) is a male cardinal in his bright red crested habit. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching his less colorful soul mate as she aggressively pushes her way past the yellow finches, but the cardinal, in all his feathered finery and the black goatee around his beak, is such exquisite design – nature at its most intelligent. I am in awe as he leaves his perch on fence or bush, winging his way to the tree and then down to the feeder, his red lights up all around him.
There is a runner-up, however, who I call Woody II (a red bellied woodpecker, of course); he is almost as handsome, with his red head, black eyes and yellow face atop gray body feathers (I have yet to see his red belly). As design, though, he’s just a little to large (not his fault) and makes too much noise as he pecks away trying to find a meal with his extra long sticky tongue.
I’ve tried to friend the cardinal, but he just flies away. So I’ll recommend him instead.