Story Inspiration Sunday

I have two bird feeders at my house. One in the front, and one at the back.

This post, is going to be for the birds.

Front feeder

Back feeder

I make up a lot of stories about the critters I see flying to and from my feeders.

First, the brave, bad boys of the bunch, the chickadees.


Yeah, I’m looking at you, kid.

I can’t believe how brave these buggers are. It doesn’t matter how big the other bird at the feeder is. The chickadees are brave opportunists, and will fly up regardless. They’ll fly away just as quick if they’re pecked at, but they’re mean and tenacious.

I’ve always thought they’d have a thick Bronx accent if they spoke — “So, babe, how you doing?”


Then there are the fastidious robins. They frequently splash all the water out of my bird bath. During the summer, when it’s hot, I’ll have to fill it twice a day because the robins will splash all the water out.

After they dunk themselves, they find a sunny spot on the ground, fluff themselves up so they can get all dry. They’re vain about their plumage, and they have a pretty warble. I’ve frequently thought about them as opera singers, always preparing for their next gig, when they’ll take the stage (and the world) by storm.

Northern Flickers

The Northern Flickers are also beautiful. They’re less graceful than they think they are. It isn’t that they fly into things, but when they try to move small amounts, like hopping from one hold to another, they flounder.

As you can tell in the above picture, I frequently get more than one at the same time. They’re a balancing act. I’ve thought about them as Cirque du Soleil wannabes. They have the costumes, but not the moves. They keep practicing, though, two at a time turns and flips and awkward lands and all.

So what kind of critters do you have around your property? How do they inspire story in you? And feel free to make up as many stories about these birds as you’d like! Whatever you write will be 100% different than what I write.




Story Inspiration Sunday — 5 Comments

  1. Those are such lovely photos! I’ve been thinking of getting a hummer feeder, though my next door neighbor has two. (Our patios are roughly the size of a bed quilt.)

    The coyotes have sadly been attacking all the ducks and cats, so not many critters. Before the urban coyotes got so bold, we would see the occasional opossum. And, of course, the hawks. My dogs would sniff and look all “What IS that???”

  2. I live in a manufactured home park. My yard extends about 10 feet all around the house–more in front. BUT, and this is the reason we live here, I back up to protected wetland wilderness forest. AND I’m in a narrow corridor surrounded by National Forest. Therefore my backyard guests included deer–we have the bachelor herd this year and there is a story about them coming–raccoons, coyote, dozens of varieties of birds from pine siskins to sparrow hawks and everything in between. Then there is the bear. This year we’ve mostly seen the cub. He’s grown from a 75 lb ball of fuzz to about 150 lb teenager. Mama is huge, probably around 300 llb. We’ve had to take down all the bird feeders because Cubby has trashed them. We did put out a plastic tub of water for all the critters to drink. The raccoons had a pool party and didn’t wipe their feet. They are worse than teenagers.

  3. Lots of goldfinches this year. Bunnies here and there in their variegated brown. Squirrels are oddly rare — we have both your standard gray, and your black, and some of the latter are brownish really (especially if you get the sun behind them so that the fur glows like sable).

    Seen foxes twice, though it may have been same one.

  4. A pair of young barn swallows took up residence on my front porch briefly, decided the ledge wasn’t big enough, and moved to the deck porch, where they built a nest and raised three fine babies. I keep thinking they have headed south already, but every once in a while they come back, try to fit into the nest (it’s crowded now!) sing a great deal, and then swoop off for more insect adventures.

  5. We get squirrels* (of course), chipmunks, raccoons, woodchucks, feral cats, opossums, skunks, zombie deer**, rabbits, field mice, various and sundry birds including wild turkeys, snakes and other reptiles (but sadly not very many), bats, and a few things I haven’t been able to identify because my eyesight isn’t very good.

    *At my previous house, I watched a squirrel climb up a tree repeatedly with a jug that had probably contained apple juice or something else sugary. Every time he got to a certain height in the tree, he’d try to put the jug on his head, fail, and drop it. It was incredibly funny. After about ten rounds of this another squirrel attacked him and he ran away.

    **They come and stare at us in the middle of the night. Their eyes glow. And they don’t run away… It’s creepy.