I started filling my bird feeder a few weeks ago. The birds have come in abundance, but it is strange, a pint scoop of bird food lasts three days right now. Last year, I put out that much before breakfast and it would be gone by lunchtime. The difference seems to be the squirrels. Last year they were brazen, three of them hanging about the feeder, one swinging and spinning on the feeder like it is an amusement park ride and two underneath enjoying the bounty sprinkling down upon them. Then they frisked about, ran up and down the tree and tussled in the yard.
This year there are squirrels, but they are behaving differently. They hide. The sneak. They scoot from one point of cover to the next. They are acting like the prey that they are. I'm guessing either the hawks have been voracious or a neighbor has a BB gun. Whatever it is, the birds are able to eat the food that I put out for them.
So far this year, the usual birds, cardinals, juncos, chickadees-both Carolina and blackcapped, bluejays, nuthatches. The titmice have been hanging out at the picture window making faces at the cats on the other side of the glass, teasing, usually the wrens do that. The cats tightly swish the tips of their tails and make their "eh-eh-eh" hunting sounds and bonk their heads on the glass as they try to fire themselves through it. They recover with their usual, "I meant to do that. I knew what I was doing, really." look. I swear I heard the titmice snickering.
The crows are strange. They appear around the hedges from the neighbor's yard and slowly walk, like middle school kids, in a loose bunch, talking amongst themselves. The stroll down the hill, about 50 feet, and then eat some of the millet that has spilled on the ground under the feeder. Some days they pick at the ground to eat other things. When they are done, they gather together and slowly walk back up the hill and disappear back around the hedge. There are other groups of crows that fly in, but this bunch likes to hoof it. Strange.