My newest hobby was actually encouraged by Wesley. A few months ago, I was completely impressed by his ability to remember the difference between a woodpecker and a hummingbird and a cardinal, so for his birthday, we bought him a bird watching book and a pair of binoculars.

Our yard is definitely a bird haven. Surrounded by woods and empty pasture, there are many varieties of birds. Alice’s favorite, and the only one she can “identify” is, strangely, a vulture. As they soar over head, she screeches and yells, “A legal! A legal!”

We have a hummingbird feeder hanging above our kitchen window, and all of us enjoy watching ruby-throated hummingbirds come to feed. We fill a feeder full of seed and hang it in a tree for a wide variety of birds to visit.

If you want to hang out a hummingbird feeder of your own, there is a much cheaper way than buying the solution in the store. All you have to do is boil some sugar in water, let it cool, then put it in your feeder. Don’t add food coloring, because it isn’t necessary, nor good for the birds. Your water and sugar should be at a four to one ratio: one cup of water, 1/4 cup sugar. Super simple!

Our current favorite is the blue jay. We have a mama blue jay living in a bush in our yard, and we’ve enjoyed keeping watch on her eggs, and now, watching her babies grow.

Four little blue jay eggs

Hungry babies

Only three of the eggs hatched, and one baby died after the first day. But the other two jays appear to be thriving.

Mama Blue Jay

Their mama seems very attentive to her hatchlings. I’ve seen her bring nice, juicy worms to them several times.

The Blue Jay Family home

I wonder if Mama Jay didn’t quite think the location of her nest all the way through. There is their bush, to the left of my clothesline. It’s so close to the clothesline that I actually have to be careful when hanging out sheets not to drape them into the bush. (Er…Mama Little House didn’t quite think out the location of her clothesline, either.) And it’s really low, too, about waist-high on an adult. But so far, the babies don’t seem to mind, and Mama Jay doesn’t seem to mind my occasional peek into her nest, either.