To complement our backyard summer garden of delicate pink peonies, bright red poppies, and eye-arresting blue, pink, and lavender phlox, my husband and I decided to put up a bird feeder. With anticipation of visits from varied-colored feathered friends, each with a serenade of its own, we purchased a handmade wooden birdhouse. Its large flat base rested under the umbrella of a high peaked roof. We painted the feeder colonial blue to match the color of our rural home and then attached it to a pressure-treated post.
We filled the platform with the bird seed mix suggested for our northern location and picked up a Field Guide to help us identify our back yard company. Within a few days’ time, our efforts were rewarded. The first to arrive was a flock of noisy Blue Jays; soon after, Grosbeaks and Starlings propelled their way to the new feeding station. There were also rare sightings of Blue Birds and Cardinals. I began praising myself for my newly acquired bird-identification skills.
That is, until one afternoon when I looked out the kitchen window and saw three unrecognizable birds snacking off the platform. They were larger than our usual callers. Smooth coats covered their heads and necks in lavish and iridescent shades of pink and green. In contrast, their bodies were a faded non-descript grey, as were their wing and tail tips; stripes of dark grey marked the main part of their wings. I began to wonder what exotic birds had made their way into our back yard.
I perused the Field Guide without getting a “hit.” I was completely baffled. So, I called my husband at work to get his input. Without missing a beat, he dryly informed me that our new diners were just a common breed of pigeon!