Just a Peep


Just a peep about birds this morning.  You already know I like them, because there’s one singing at you every time you come to this website! I thought I would tell you about the inspiration for the ones I have decorating my shelves, and for the ones I love to paint . . .  they have such interesting details for my tiny brush, beaks, eyes, feet and claws; plus their soft colors and sometimes quizzical expressions; always at their best with musical notes coming out of their mouths. 

I’m not the only one who enjoys painting them . . .  I look for old bird books while on our travels . . . some of them have beautiful art in them.   I found this one in England. 

We aren’t the kind of birdwatchers that go out to the woods with binoculars; we don’t have the patience to wait for them to show up. But we have three feeders hanging from the wisteria trellis outside our kitchen windows, and a bird bath sitting a little further out by the picket fence, which means they come to us.  Which makes it so very handy for drawing them!  Yesterday I removed the screen from one of the windows so I could photograph the feeders with a clear view.  The birds did not care for this sudden closeness . . . no matter how stealthily I approached, most of them would all fly off together in a cacophony of wings and indignant peeps.  This was the best I could do.

I began feeding birds (and when you feed birds, you automatically feed squirrels because where there is bird seed, there are squirrels) when I moved to the island, noticing and falling in love with all the beautiful nature around me. Seeing a cardinal for the first time was a big part of the inspiration. Where I grew up in southern California and then on the Central Coast, there were no cardinals.  Until I moved here, I’d never seen one. It was like magic for me; how could there be such a red bird?  I needed to see more of them!  They were Christmas come alive.  Like valentines in the snow; they’re the only color in the winter when all else is brown, black, gray or white.  I now recognize the little twisty noise they make, I often hear them before I see them.  And they mate for life; I’ll never forget the first time I saw a brilliant red cardinal come to the feeder, delicately take a sunflower seed, fly with it to a nearby rhododendren where the female was perched, and place it in her beak.

When I bought my first house on the island, there was an ancient, almost falling apart, bird feeder hanging by old chain from a branch of an oak tree outside the kitchen window; the wood of this homemade feeder was weathered and gray and lichen grew on the roof of it.  I bought my first bag of bird seed at the local farm store, filled the feeder, and from that moment on, every time I was at the sink, washing dishes or rinsing vegetables, I was kept entertained with the flutterings, songs, baby-feeding, and comings and goings, of chicadees, nuthatches, wrens, bright-yellow finches, and my forever favorites, the cardinals.  The trees were full of them, perched in a line on branches, waiting their turn at the feeders.  I discovered that blue jays are bullies, too big for the feeders, but they manage to attach themselves anyway and scare the little birds away. Yellow, brown, blue, black and red birds, spots of color in the woods. Pretty soon my trees were filled with bird feeders and there were little flocks of ground feeders under them . . . One little movement, if I went out the back door, they’d all fly away at once.

Henry David Thoreau wrote that he “once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment while I was hoeing in a village garden and I felt I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I would be by any honor bestowed upon me.”  I’m so jealous, I’ve been waiting, but no sparrows have landed on me yet.  I do try to lure them with  interesting feeders, which come in all shapes and sizes, some better than others.  This one with the red roof was great because lots of birds could crowd inside at one time, out of the rain and snow, and it was easy to fill with seed; the squirrels liked it because they thought it was a perfect little house, a big grocery-filled kitchen, just for them.

This is as close as they will let me get at bath time.  Birds are on a schedule, like us, they feed at certain times, morning and night with a few visits during the day, and bath time seems to take place in the late afternoon sun. When I come back from tea at Lowely’s, and find bunnies grazing on the lawn, doves (cooing) on the barn, cardinals and squirrels feeding from seed dropped from the feeders into the driveway, and birds frolicking at the bird bath, I feel like my garden is Disneyland!

♥  ♥  ♥

So yesterday, The birds still weren’t used to the screen being gone and me right there . . . but somebody, try to guess who, had no problem at all . . .


I could show you three different videos of this same squirrel coming back! But I couldn’t get the birds to cooperate.  I won’t give up, will try again.  Watching them is sort of like watching fish swim around in a tank, only better, mesmerizing! We love them year round, but especially in the winter; their happy, light-hearted energy with feathers blowing in the icy wind as they swing on the feeders gives whimsy to a scene which might otherwise be just gray leafless trees and cold white sky.  And if you feed them all winter, they stick around in the summer and eat mosquitoes! So if you have a tree that might like to feel more useful this winter, once he is finished with his job of shading you or giving you fruit, you can give him (and you) the gift of a bird feeder. 

 Bird song is the first nature thing I hear in the morning — probably seeing Cinderella as a child is what turned me into a bird lover!  I mean, please, they make beds!  

 My first birds, age six, crayons.  My heart was in it from the beginning. 

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134 Responses to Just a Peep

  1. Val says:

    Oh, yes, the heart. 🙂

    I love having birds around too, although smack-dab in the middle of the city with no yard these days, I rarely see any. That’s one of the reasons I look forward to visiting my parents–Their yard is always full of birds, Cardinals and Chickadees, especially. 🙂 The Chickadees are my favorites.

    And your yard is, as always, so serene-looking, Susan. 🙂

  2. Jeannie M from NC says:

    Ooh! You are a sweet girl after my own heart! I put hummingbird feeders up in So. Cal. but not other feeders. When we moved to WNC There was a feeder up and we started putting seed out then I got more feeders, and more feeders! I would sit on the couch just watching birds with bird book in hand, couldn’t get anything else done, especially in winter! I felt so bad when the Robins would come too early in the spring, then we would have our late snow, they would look at me through the window, like, help me! I am cold! I didn’t know what to do. Now we are in a new home, I told the birds I was leaving, let my friend and neighbor know to put out more food for my birds, wanted to leave signs out for them! I immediately put my 3 squirrel proof feeders up, 2 thistle feeders for the goldfinches, and in the spring 3 hummer feeders! they make me happy every day watching them from my kitchen window, what a joy! I have met so many new birds down here too!
    Susan, have you read A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg? Read it, you’ll love it!
    Thanks for the joy of the birds today from MV.

    • CindyK says:

      Oh Susan! I loved the way you talked so sweetly yet sternly to that sweet squirrel! You might remember me, as I am the gal who has raised baby squirrels. They are the sweetest things ever!! I just raised a young flying squirrel!! How fun! He has been released now into the big wide world. I love the birds too though! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have one come land on you! Thank you for the video!!

  3. Judith Hogan says:

    Oh, the birds are so much fun to watch. And they can be very cheeky, too. If I don’t have the feeder filled, they will sit in the trees chirping loudly until I come out and refill it. I grew up in Ontario where there are lots of cardinals, but I live on the west coast of B.C. now and we don’t have them here. Lots of little brown finches and chickadees though, and in the spring, for a few days, beautiful small green finches. And quite a few humming birds. They have so much energy. Our cats love the action, but they seem to know that they must keep their distance.

  4. Barbara Whitebread says:

    Susan, I absolutely love your blog!!! This was completely adorable! Your blog is such a positive influence despite the stresses we deal with in the real world. I look forward to each and every blog and newsletter and want to thank you for sharing your talent with the world 🙂 !!! THANK YOU! I smile EVERY time I go to your site and read your blog. <3

  5. Hi Susan! I love feeding the birds too, but have come quite discouraged by the squirrels…I have the most squirrels in my area than anyone around I am sure. Big fat healthy squirrels. Anyway someone said if you switch to safflower seed instead of sunflower seed the squirrels won’t touch it but the birds will..it takes the birds a little bit to get used to it, but then they are feeding as usual. Now I just need to find a big bag of Safflower seeds. I love the thistle feeder and I get lots of finches. We have woodpeckers on our suet feeder, and sometimes the squirrels get that too. I had a beautiful squirrel proof feeder by yankee and they broke it! Hmm…so safflower seed it will be. I also found out from my mom (who lives on MV and is an avid bird feeder herself) that my new birdbath I found at a barn sale in NH is probably too deep, so that is why I have never seen them bathing in it, even though it is a gorgeous iron bath on a pedestal. Grrr…I love birding, and watch from my windows, much like you, and get so much pleasure from my little friends.

    • mari1017 says:

      Amy –
      The safflower seed does discourage squirrels. if you have a Wild Birds Unlimited store by you, they carry safflower seeds is various quantities. Always good to try it out before you purchase a huge bag.
      Also, squirrels hate hot pepper, but it doesn’t bother the birds – there is seed that is coated in cayenne papper 🙂
      just some thoughts – I used to work part time at WBU here in Virginia 🙂

      • CarolK says:

        Amy, I found by putting a few medium sized, flat river rocks in the middle of the birdbath the smaller birds like to stand on them to drink. It doesn’t inhibit the bigger birds from still jumping in and taking their bath either.

    • Joan Lesmeister says:

      Hi Amy: Somebody told me to try putting a rock in the middle of the deep birthbath, and the birds will land on it and then bathe. Good luck!

  6. Laurie says:

    what a beautiful post and yes i think once a person starts feeding birds its a life long passion, for us it is.Lovely photos and what a beautiful feeder,, I have been painting birds for quite a while and never tire of them, I painted a humming bird today for a twenty Minute challenge i’ve discovered in this new to me blog land,, I painted a humming bird because they will soon leave us for warmer climates, another mark of Autumn, thats squirrel is a pretty smart little fellow,

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure he learned everything he knows from his mom and grandparents! They are born around here, just like that, raring to go at the bird food!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Well now, just think about it: If you were a squirrel and someone put out tasty food that you didn’t have to work hard to get (like carrying acorns around and cracking them open with your teeth), wouldn’t you go for it, too?! 🙂

  7. karen saunders says:

    I do so love birds and flowers and butterflys . How kind of God to make them just for our pleasure. Susan… do you still have your little house you first lived in? Can you imagine that when you are in heaven they will turn your house into a museum? And people will be lined up everywhere to see the house where Susan Branch created all those wonderful paintings. I know I would be in line! (But you must stay here a long long time because we can’t live without you!!) karen

  8. Karen P says:

    How much cuteness is this blog! (I almost feel like I’m “lurking” on your website, waiting for the next entry….guess I am! Ha!) I love that you posted a link to A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes! That is just pure sweetness and joy, isn’t it?! We have had a little bird that returns every year to a little yellow ceramic birdhouse that I have hanging in our tree. I never knew what it was called but we always call it the “chippy” bird because it sits there and goes “chip-chip-chip” at us if we get to close to the house. It is only a little tiny thing but when it gets going, it is sooooo loud and its little tail twitches up and down! I now know it’s a Jenny Wren (Paul McCartney has a song about a Jenny Wren). Love that little bird (or maybe its babies are the ones that come back…don’t know!) A little gift every Spring….along with the goldfinches, robins, hummingbirds, morning doves (love the cooing) and catbirds! Have you ever heard a catbird? Sounds just like a cat meowing (or, says my husband, a newborn baby crying).

  9. Diane says:

    Your art, your words, YOUR island = *MAGIC*!!
    Thank you so, SO much for sharing all of them with us.
    Reading your books and your blog bring joy to so many!

  10. Rita says:

    We love our birds and feed them all year long.. While sitting in our little yard over a few years we have seen 34 – 35 different species.. they all seem to love it here.. We had a robin make a nest on our porch this Spring and watch the entire process with her ‘babies’. It was sad when the last little one got up enough nerve to follow her to the bushes out in the yard. We are very careful to watch over all ‘our’ birds and make sure the squirrels don’t steal ALL the food, and keep them safe from the HAWK ~ Oh! that bad old hawk..

  11. Country Gal says:

    Isnt it wonderful to have so much nature around you. We here at Our Country Cove have the same, we have 7 seed feeders all year round and 3 nector feeders in the summer and I put out 2 bowls of peanuts for the critters and a waterfall bird bath and make sure I have flowers and trees around that they like and two bird houses . I love photographing nature and this way nature comes to me with ease and I can get wonderful photos of them , they even wait for their food and chit chat to me. I love your bird house it is cute ! Your water colours are fantastic very pretty. A wonderful post, Have a great day !

  12. myra romano says:

    adore. the little crayon picture is perfect!

  13. Rosemary says:

    I am a bird watcher in the same way that you are. My Mother was a genuine bird watcher…bird counts on New Year’s Day and all! I like to see them come to my feeders and bird bath. Mother said the bird bath is a great attraction for them. We have cardinals, especially in the winter…sometimes having 20 in our yard. They love the hedges and bushes for cover. We had a pretty, lovely snow last February (in Texas) and the cardinals were so happy to be on my porch…little foot prints all over the place. You certainly capture the beauty and charm of the birds in your art and your writings. Also, how is it that you can come up with a post that can just make my heart sing each day? Love your positive outlook!

  14. Sheri says:

    Oh, I love your cardinals drawing! We recently moved from St. Louis to Colorado and one of the things I miss most are the pair of cardinals that lived in our bushes and fed at our bird feeder for the past 7 or 8 years. We named them Fred and Ethel. (Ok, I named them. Hubby doesn’t go for naming birds, although he used his photography skills and long range lens to capture a beautiful picture of Ethel once.) I hope the new people in our house feed and appreciate them. No cardinals in Colorado, and that makes me sad. They are truly sweet and beautiful birds!

  15. Martha Ellen says:

    Susan, I love your blog today! My husband and I love to feed the birds. We are so in awe of their beauty and lovely voices! What better way is there to stand at the kitchen sink and watch all that nature has to offer us. There are several feeders in our backyard that we keep filled with their food. I’ll have to say it’s some of the best entertainment around!

  16. Betsy says:

    Oh Susan, I LOVE birds. I have a birch tree outside my bedroom window and every morning there is a cardinal couple sitting in the branches. They sit out there chirping away….the sound is beautiful. I fix my tea and sit on the bed watching for the longest time. Next I head to my laptop and log onto your blog. It had become such a part of my morning. When you’re not on for a day or so I feel like I am missing a happy part of life. It’s like hearing from a dear friend even though we have never met.

  17. Michelle A says:

    Your yard is beautiful, I can see why the birds and other critters love it! Thank you for sharing with us, it makes me feel like Ive been to MV even though I never have. I look forward to reading your next post.

  18. Lin says:

    Birds are a great joy to me, too, Susan! I can’t believe you never saw a cardinal – didn’t realize they aren’t in CA!! They are certainly the highlight of winter around here – and I love seeing as many as 6 pairs of them come to our feeders during a snowstorm! My other favorite is the chickadee, with it’s sweet song: “chicka-dee-dee-dee!”. I’ve heard that they can be trained to eat out of your hands! Not here, they are as skittery as all the rest! I also love the finches in the spring when they turn from dull sickly green to that wonderful bright gold! Thanks for a lovely post today – it made me slow down and breathe!

  19. Sheryle Towle says:

    Love your birds! My husband, Mike, is very dedicated to the birds in our yard, also. Just like at your feeders, though, the squirrels invite themselves. However, word spread quickly this summer & the skunks showed up! Did you know that they, too, love sunflower seeds? Every night @ 8ish, 3 skunks, coming from 3 different directions, gather by our front porch. It’s crazy! Mike has tried to scare them away, but they ignore him. Good grief! Have you & Joe had skunk problems because of the feeders?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, they are there every night. There is a skunk man on the island, but we think he takes them down the street and lets them out again!

      • Sheryle Towle says:

        Well that’s interesting because a skunk man came to our neighborhood a month ago. He captured the skunks at the end of our street (about 1/4 mile away). We were kind of thinking that he just let them out again, too…..at OUR house!!! My granddaughters have named the skunks; that’s how often they visit!

        • sbranch says:

          They’d be fine if they would just get rid of that extra little thing they carry around with them!

          • Sheryle Towle says:

            Ha! Absolutely! They do look cute & cuddlely! Enjoy the rest of your day! Time for me to take the sheets in off the line (before the skunks arrive to freshen them up!)

          • michelle a says:

            My dads neighbor had a pet skunk that had that little something removed. It was the sweetest little thing. He loved to snuggle. We use to have so much fun taking him for walks on a leash.

  20. Lori C. says:

    Susan, if you want a truly sweet read to carry on the train with you, in honor of your little Cardinals, please get Fannie Flagg’s, A Redbird Christmas. I cry tears of happiness every time I read it.

  21. Laura Croyle says:

    Your blog is always such a Delight!! I check it even before I get the notice in my e-mail box that you’ve posted a new entry! I love birdies, too! I used to feed them, but got discouraged by the squirrels raiding and ruining my feeders. My husband even tried greasing the pole the feeders were hug on to discouraged them! It was funny to watch them try to crawl up only to slide down! The only trouble is, the grease doesn’t last long enough, so we eventually put it all away. But this Spring we had a pair of Dark-eyed Juncos make a nest in a pot of pansies on our deck! They laid 4 little eggs. Only three hatched. But what a joy to watch them feed and take care of their babies. I even got to witness the last of the fledglings leave the nest and saw how the parents stayed close to protect their baby! So Precious!! I felt so blessed to watch this cycle of life unfold right before me on my back deck! I just may be inspired to feed the birds once again this winter, after all.
    P. S. I had a light blue parakeet for 14 years, named “Tweety-pie”, that I taught to talk. Whenever we’d walk in the room he say, “Hi, Whatcha’ doin’?” He’d get SO excited whenever he heard the birds chirping outside or even on the T.V! I referred to him as my little bluebird of happiness.

  22. Beverly says:

    We used to feed all kinds of birds … the finches loved thistle … they thought it was yummy ~ then Mom had 5 …. count them … FIVE … hummingbird feeders that she’d fill most times 3x a day … they were little hoggies!!!! Then she had an old wooden door that she put outside on 2 chairs … then just spread the ‘generic’ birdseeds all over the table … it drew many different kinds of birds … my dad, who finally lost his sight because of diabetes, sat at the kitchen table every day when he could still see and watched all the birds gather … he loved them …
    and me? i have a lilac bush right outside my home desk … where i do a lot of computer work … just since spring this year, i’ve seen a pair of gorgeous catbirds build a nest and raise babies … hummingbirds land in the bush, chickadees, bluebirds … cardinals, darling little woodpeckers … teen-insy finches … and the list goes on … LOVE BIRDS!!!!!

  23. Joy Hall says:

    Love the birdie illustration at the top of the page. Such a delicate touch with that tiny brush.

  24. karen saunders says:

    I love the birds but I’m afraid to encourage them to come in to the yard because we have a cat and a fox terrier… who is quite the varmit killer. Susan, doesn’t your cat try to get the birds?? k

  25. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    What a fun post about birds, I adore birds and like you have a birdbath, feeders and houses scattered everywhere. I also feed a squirrel that have fed since she was a baby. She comes to my back door everyday. I feed her almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and strawberries. How I love them all.
    I love the pictures, I love all your pictures:)
    happy day Susan

  26. Elizabeth says:

    I’m from upstate NY and the cardinals are my favorites also…my dad could imitate their call and they would always feed in our yard. Here in Montana, there are no cardinals 🙁 but lots of other birds, including a pheasant who likes to lie in some tall weeds in our backyard (I use him as justification for not mowing, lol!) I have a birdfeeder and birdbath and watch them from my kitchen window. Last winter the pheasant came right up to our front door and I took photos of his tracks in the snow. Thanks for your as-always inspiring writing.

  27. Terri J. says:

    Just discovered your blog a few weeks ago. All I can say is “love it”! You speak my language…of cozy home and all things that make me happy. Just bought my first SB book too (don’t know where I’ve been to not know about such wonders). Thanks!

  28. Mary S. says:

    LOVE all your blogs – this one about birds is especially wonderful! I love birds, too, and have several feeders outside my kitchen window Autumn, Winter and the first part of Spring. They don’t come around during the Summer. My finch feeder is one of the mesh socks, which they just LOVE! Fortunately, my hunter cats (2) stay out in the back yard!! If they only knew!!! 😀

  29. Susan, I love your bolg and your Wiliards and all your books. I have been collecting you since Heart of the Home…I will be at Creative Connection this month. I look forward to meeting you. See you soon, Angel

  30. Birdie Cutair says:

    Thanks for your comments about birds this morning on my birthday! I love to watch the birds outside my kitchen window, too. At first I missed not having a dishwasher, but now I just watch the birds as I wash dishes – so peaceful!

  31. Virginia says:

    Growing up in Colorado and living most of my adult life in California, I have never seen a cardinal ‘up close and personal’. Red was my favorite color as a child and pictures of cardinals seemed magical to me. How could bird feathers be RED? Red-winged blackbirds were the next best thing with their red shoulders.

    We have a row of Carolina cherry trees in back which attract a lot of birds. I can watch them when I sit at my computer at home. Yesterday a dark gray mouse was climbing from branch to branch ten feet up. He lives under the house and teases our indoor kitties on the porch outside the sliding glass door.

    Love your crayon drawing of the bluebirds. How fortunate you are that your mother saved your childhood artwork! Sadly, I have nothing of my own, but saved many of my children’s drawings.

    Thanks for another great blog entry. No matter what you post, all of us readers/fans can relate to it.

  32. Sarah says:

    Now that we live on a big spread here in Virginia, we started feeding the birds right outside our breakfast room. We saw so many different species we’d never seen before. (Like an Eastern towhee, which was new to us) And by default, we also were feeding squirrels, those little fatties. 🙂 Now, if I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it either, but one morning my daughter and I heard a scratching noise on the glass of the door. We assumed it was one of our dogs wanting to go outside and chase squirrels. But NO! It was two squirrels, scratching on the glass because they were out of food! We shrieked with laughter, imagining their conversation: “Hey, we’re out of food. That really tall creature on the other side of the glass seems to be the food source. Let’s get her attention.” 🙂 What a hoot. They now do it every time they are hungry. Fall must be coming, because they’ve all been really busy with their nut activities this week. We love seeing a squirrel carrying those big green hickory nuts. The nuts are bigger than their heads!

    And oh, that song from Cinderella. I have GOT to get myself some of those birds who can help me make beds and get dressed for the ball. 🙂 I love everything about that movie. “Lucifee.” 🙂


  33. Nancy LeB says:

    I have had that exact same conversation with a squirrel at our feeder – sometimes he gets down on the deck yells at me and stomps his feet before he runs away!

  34. Jenny L. says:

    We had to stop feeding the birds because the squirrels were getting up in our oak trees and girdling the branches (as in eating the bark off the branches all the way around the branch). Then when we would have a storm the branches were so weakened off they would come. I can’t tell you how much I miss the birds. I am going to try the safflower seeds. We used to camp with our children when they were little at a campground called Lake Kissimmee in Florida. You could hold bird seed in your hand and the Scrub Jays (like a bluejay but brighter blue) would land on your hand and eat the seed. I don’t know who was more excited in our family – the kids or the parents. It was a lot of fun. I don’t think they let you do it now though. I think they are dwindling in Florida because of habitat loss. When I read your post today, I thought, “Susan would love that.” As always, your blog has brightened my day.

    • sbranch says:

      I do love it. There was a woman sitting on a bench near the Louvre feeding birds, they were all over her (not like in the movie, in a nice way) all around her feet — I’m sure she’s there every day.

  35. Jennie says:

    Delightful! I am so glad you included the cardinal photo, because I’ve never seen one either! He is beautiful! (or she, do they look different?)
    I would so enjoy some birdfeeders myself, but I don’t want to attract birds to their deaths! We live with two very skilled killers (two brother cats) who have already done away with not only birds, but a squirrel, various rodents- and the strangest of all- a dragonfly. It is an odd thing indeed to have your cat proudly approach you with a drangonfly stiff in his mouth and present it at your feet!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve seen it, unfortunately, once you have, you don’t forget. I will not give you the other image that comes to mind of kitty atrocity . . . The dog people will wonder what would make us want these vicious beasts. Let’s let this be our little secret. 🙂

      • karen saunders says:

        Well not to worry. as I said, my fox terrier Hanna killed 8 bats. There they were, when we got up one morning, all over the floor. She is faster than lightning… she tolerates our cat McKenzie only because she knows I would skin her alive if she didn’t!! The funniest thing she wants to kill is my feather duster….. I guess I know getting a bird would be a bad idea! Ha

    • Sarah says:

      Jennie, male and female cardinals do look different, as they do in almost any bird couple. It’s amazing to me that no matter the bird, the male is always showy and colorful (sounds like my husband…) 🙂 and the female is always a muted version of the male. Perfect for blending in with her surroundings while sitting on the nest. As much as I love male cardinals, I think the female might be more beautiful with her soft red and brown feathers. Google a picture of her. She’s a gorgeous gal! 🙂

  36. Judy C in NC says:

    Aren’t they wonderful to view – we love seeing all of our song birds visiting our feeders and fortunately over half of them are cardinals in all their finery. We got bird feeders this year from http://www.plowandhearth.com out of Madison, Virginia and they have so far fed the birds and deterred the squirrels – instead of the birds getting the left overs it is the squirrels who get the left overs. It is quite a sight to see a squirrel trying to figure out the Squirrel Buster bird feeders, because when they jump on the feeder it closes off the seed holes.. They have gone to great lengths and still cannot get to the seed and that has also brought us great joy to watch. Love all things in nature. Judy C in NC

  37. Katharine says:

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. My mom’s favorite birds are the Cardinals. She could see them, in Sweden, where she grew up. Every Christmas I’m always finding some type of cardinal to give her (ornament, doormat, kitchen towel). I am a huge fan and love your cardinal illustration. Katharine

  38. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Oh my, you’ve done it again….I must respond because birds are my joy! Hope you’re not tired of my replies! I just came home from the bird store where I bought a new birdbath that fits on my “pole feeding system”…yes, they make this whole “system” for bird feeding.
    What I wanted to share was that after being a collector of found bird feathers, I read that Native Americans believe that when you find a feather it is a reminder that your prayers have been carried by the birds to God. I love thinking about that.

    • CarolK says:

      Sarah, what a wonderful Native American saying! I Love It! I’m forever finding feathers in our backyard and I save them all. One day, when the kids are sorting through our stuff they will be wondering what that box of feathers is doing in the house. LOL I’m going to put a note in there referring to that saying. Thank you….

  39. Terry says:

    In the house I used to live in, we had a bird feeder that was attached to the picture window with suctions cups. It was great fun to watch the cats watch the birds. Where we live now we have black bears and they take the bird feeders and carry them into the woods. They even toppled over and broke our birdbath. However, our yard if filled with birds, and I love to hear them singing in the early hours of the morning.

  40. Karen says:

    Love your bird drawings from when you were little! Very sweet.

    Birds are very special to me and hubby. We feed them year round and love watching them through all the seasons. Cardinals are my favorites, but actually I love most birds.

    The squirrel video was cute….they are so acrobatic and funny.

    Looking forward to your next post.


  41. Mary Lou says:

    My godmother is 93 and in bed most of the time. I sit with her 3 – 4 days a week. The first thing I did was to take a birdfeeder over and place it in front of the big window beside her bed. She really enjoys all the feathered friends who visit several time a day, but her favs are the cardinals 🙂

  42. Nicksgranma says:

    Love the watercolor birds..wish you could make them come to life! We have had a finch feeder on several occasions and boy do they ever get the word out that there is free food..however, along with them come the unwelcome ground critters that like the left overs so we’ve had to discontinue them. It is 95 in Corona, Calif today but I will not let that get in the way of my favourite time of year…FALL! I put up my fall dept 56 village and am in the process of changing the hutch to all those great colors. I was wondering if when you have a chance could you possibly put a fall screen saver for us to use? Thanks for all your great stories and videos…you are doing a maaarrvellllous job!

  43. Ginny Stanley says:

    Dear Susan,
    Honestly, I think you’re my soul sister – lol.
    I love the birds so much! This summer I found a wren nest in a bunch of daylilies, 2 separate mockingbird nests in the evergreen shrubs out front, a robin’s nest in my forsythia, 2 unknown bird nests in the trumpet vine and a wren nest in my hanging basket – which I had to let die because I was afraid I’d drown the babies. Not to mention a family of swallows in the birdhouse by my front door which was suppose to be “for decorative purposes”. Birds in all 4 birdhouses out back and all 12 apartments of our Martin house. And lastly, 4 small hummingbird feeders that I refill every other day. The only feed they get in the summer is an occasional suet cake or two and some old, crumbled bread. The finches have been feasting on my coneflowers. In the winter, we put out feed but about the only birds left are cardinals, blue jays, chickadees and a couple types of other small birds along with some mourning doves. A few summers back, we put feed out in the summer and had a couple pairs of bobwhite quails that would sneek in and eat off the ground. No squirrels around us but 3 summer’s ago a chipmunk showed up out of the blue. He would gather sunflower seeds till his cheeks about burst and “plant” them all over the yard!!!
    They even came up in some of my flowerpots. I loved him but he left as mysteriously as he came. (I think the cat got him). Finches are probably my favorite cause yellow is my favorite color but I love to sit and listen to the beautiful “noise” they make! Thanks Susan !!!

  44. One of the items on my life list is to see a Cardinal. I live in the Pacific Northwest (a.k.a. the wet coast) and Cardinals are not indigenous to the area. We have plenty of hummingbirds in early summer especially and our feeders are full in the winter. Each winter we seem to attract a different collection of visitors depending on winter conditions in the surrounding mountains and the climate.

  45. Suzanne says:

    I can’t imagine a house without bird feeders! My parents always fed the birds and I have inherited the love for feeding and watching them as well. My parents being french would always nickname the cardinal family as Monsieur and Madame Cardinal, so to this day when my little family of cardinals frequent my feeders I call them that as well. We have a very aggressive little wren that has been nesting in my hanging flower baskets under my porch for a couple years, the cutest little thing but does she ever give Maggie my kitty the business when she sits in her window seat, its so funny as she’ll go right up to the window and heckle poor Maggie, she’s always happy when the eggs hatch and they leave the nest! Susan I have even decorated my family room Christmas tree with little birds and nests with berry garland, so cute. I remember as a child filling pinecones with peanut butter, rolling them in bird seed and hanging them out in the trees during the winter. They really bring so much joy, don’t they?

  46. Jennie says:

    Thanks Sarah, I will. Us females have to stick together! 😉

  47. Jacqui G says:

    We’re birdwatchers too. Where I live, the bullies are the naughty wild green parrots that take over the bird feeder! Poor little birdies, they just move aside until the parrots have had their fill and have flown away. We get all sorts of birds in the winter, including robins and cardinals. They come and visit when they fly south for the winter. We have a large pond in the back of our house, and the ducks ,cranes and egrets come and visit as well. Sometimes when I look out the kitchen window I feel like it’s Dr. Doolittle’s yard with them all marching up to get what spills on the ground from the feeder. Funny, what we don’t get much of is squirrels- maybe they’re scared of all those Great Egrets…

  48. Jean G says:

    Nice to read about birds – I do love them too. My mother used to feed them and sometimes record what she saw in her little leather-bound bird book (with pretty little works of bird-art too). I have that book now, with her penciled in accounts of what she saw. Way back to 1955 – “Home – Cowbird”; “Avon – hummingbird”; etc., etc. – plus a bit of my scribbling. (Tried to keep my own records, I guess!) Such treasures – the book, the birds, the memories – and today is a treasure also!

    I now keep records in my own special book. I give names to the regulars, too – the woodpeckers are “Woody” and “Mrs. Woody”; the cardinals are “Mr. & Mrs. C.” and the Nuthatches are, well, “Nutty”. Not too corny! But watching them and their antics brings it out of me somehow! (And I know I’m not alone in this!)

    Anyway, I brought the feeders into the garage last weekend to wait out Irene, and forgot to bring them out again (horrors!) after she left. Today I saw a juvenile male cardinal in my garden, near the window, looking at me as if to say “What’s the deal?” Went right out to the store and bought more seed and hung the feeders again. I feel complete somehow!

    Thanks for sharing your birdie experiences!

    Jean G.

  49. Pat Mofjeld says:

    We have a bird feeder called “The Flipper” that, if a squirrel reaches out for the circular perch, it spins and flips the squirrel. Ok, nobody get excited as the couple of times we’ve seen a squirrel flipped, it has landed gently in the soft blue spruce branches. The feeder is up high in the blue spruce so it can be seen from our living room. My husband uses a long pole to reach up to secure it on a hook hanging on the branch. Besides giving us enjoyment watching the birds, our two schnauzers love to watch the birds. They don’t growl or act aggressive, just seem to enjoy sitting on the sofa watching the birds. We call it their “bird TV”… But one day something terrible happened! I happened to look out and see a little red squirrel make a jump to the ring. The ring started to spin and the little red squirrel somehow slid down between the ring and the feeder, his/her back to the feeder, face looking out, his/her little body hanging down with his/her little front legs (arms?) holding onto the ring. The ring spun around and around, with that poor little terrorized face looking at me every time it spun around! I tapped on the window and it finally let go and went sailing onto one of the branches below. It wasn’t long before it was back again. Wheeeee…My husband said word was going to get out to all of the squirrels in our neighborhood that the “carnival ride was at Mofjeld’s house!”

    • Jeannie M from NC says:

      Carnival ride, thats funny!
      We opted for the kind that pushes down at the weight of squirrel size, have three, so far they have worked going on 5 years now, they have tryed gnawing at them, they leave their marks but can’t get in! Saves alot of money on seed! Got them and wild birds unlimited.
      enjoyed your story!

  50. Gert says:

    Susan…you picked one of my very favorite subjects…smile… Since we bought our first house we have been feeding and watching birds! And like you the cardinals are our favorites also. At one time a couple winters ago I took a picture of 6 Papa Cardinals out in our tree!! That was a beautiful site…come over to my blog and check them out!! smile… I love them…and all the birds who visit our feeders. And the squirrels…oh they are so much fun to watch!! Tom made a cone on our feeder that he build which stops them from reaching it. However, they try….and try…smile…but eventually just eat the feed that is under the feeder on the patio… I take so many pictures out our big picture window which is double pane glass and the shots are usually pretty good. Course nothing like having nothing between us! I hope you have good luck and are able to capture them!!

    Blessings and again thank you for another wonderful blog posting!!

    xoxo Gert

  51. Nellie says:

    While we don’t have dedicated bird feeders, the birds are truly happy that we have lots of blueberry bushes (8), raspberries, and blackberries.:-) We call them “nature’s feeders.” Blue birds have made nests under the eaves of our shed, and finches love to feed at the herb garden. We have tried to entice purple martins to nest in the spring, but not much luck there. We keep hoping.:-)

  52. Gayle says:

    Well I learned a thing or two from the blog today! We feed the birds but we keep having a rat get into the feeder. My husband leaves for work at 4:15 a.m. and sees the little rascal on the feeder then. He has worked himself into a frenzy trying to trap the rat, arrange it so it can’t get on feeder, and placing the feeder so it can’t get to it. So far the rat has one every time. Have a wonderful weekend holiday!
    Gayle from Behind the Gate

  53. Care Kester says:

    I always thought that when you find a feather it’s a hug from Heaven….prayers carried to God or hugs, both are delightful and I NEVER walk past a feather!!!! I have lots of them and I’m grateful to each and every birdie or angel that left it for me to find!!!!!! I, too, love the birdies! Oh, and Susan, my thrill today was finding a couple of your out of print books. I am giddy with delight!!!!!!! Thanks again for another awesome post.

  54. Jen says:

    Do you have any particular recommendations for great seed? I bought some expensive bag of “no waste” see 2 weeks ago – NO ONE is coming to eat it! How can that be? In those two weeks, I’ve seen 3 birds. Also, do you (or any of the other ladies here) wash out your feeders or your birdbath on any particular schedule? My mother-in-law has awesome birds in her yard and never ever cleans anything out, but I just wonder what others do. Thanks for another great post, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve had that happen. No idea why, because then Joe goes and buys it later, after I’ve told him, “Won’t work,” it DOES work! (of course!) I always do well with straight sunflower seed, and nyger seed for finches. I also don’t clean the feeders because they’re always in use, if I let them sit for awhile, I would. Except the hummingbird feeder, we do clean that.

    • Doreen Strain says:

      Hi Jen,
      We’ve had that same thing happen to us a few times. We then just changed over to oiled sunflower seeds, they love it! For the finches we use thistle and they really love that!!! I get such a kick out of them fighting and pushing each other off the perch to get to it. I could sit there and watch them for hours. Just too funny. As for our bird baths, the stone one we just dump whatever is in it every once in a while and wipe it with a wire brush (that takes off the rusty kinda gunk that gets in it). Just give it a little once over. Rinse and then refill. We do empty it out every two or three days and put fresh water in it for them. We also have a plastic one that we empty and wipe out with papertowel (sometimes the bottom gets green with yuck) and then refill that too. No special treatment. I wouldn’t use any chemicals on any of them. As for the bird feeders. If I can get them down (because they are always busy) I sometime was the thistle feeder out with a drop of dish soap and rinse well with hot water and dry it good before I refill it. Once I filled it while it was still wet, (thinking…it’s out in the rain all the time and water gets in …why not) and we ended up with mold on the seed in the feeder. That’s how we do it here at our house.
      FOSB 4~Ever! ;>) (Little birdie smile) ~ Doreen ~

      • Jen says:

        So helpful – thank you! However, I was hoping that the answer would include me being able to use this $25 bag of seed! Maybe my mother-in-law would appreciate it.

  55. Siobhan says:

    Not surprisingly, we all love the birdies! I just got a wonderful email from a friend with 14 beautiful-beyond-belief colorful birds, and I wish I could share it here as I know y’all would love it, but I don’t think I can…if anyone would like me to forward you a copy, send me your email to siobhaneen@hotmail.com, and put Birdies in the subject line, and I’ll send back the piccies. I promise I’m not a spammer! You’ll just get the lovely birdies! I had mourning dove babies this year in my courtyard, so precious and wide eyed, fluffing out every day, mama and papa lurking around. Love ’em! Love the crayon drawing, so precious! And last but not least, love the chirpy birdy who welcomes me to the website every day. My pavlovian response is to start relaxing!

  56. Beth says:

    Love your blog more every day! Cardinals are my favorite too. I love to sit on my porch, watching them at my feeders. My lab, Cooper and my cat Ricky love to birdwatch together from my dining room window. It is part of their morning ritual! I have so many cute pictures of them watching the birds together. The squirrels will actually come right up on the front porch and stare at the cat and dog right through the window. Very entertaining! Have a wonderful weekend!

  57. Carolyn Ann says:

    My favorite bird is the cardinal. I used to live in Kentucky and many cardinals would gather around our feeder in the winter. Once I saw a male feed a female and I thought of your calender. I didn’t know they really did that. I had fun looking out your kitchen window into your backyard. So pretty!

  58. Mimi Sue says:

    I’m very excited to be taking a little trip to Illinois in a few weeks. I am looking forward to seeing a cardinal in person since I too am originally from the Central California Coast. Hope to see a firefly too. Will they still be around the end of Sept? Mimi

    • sbranch says:

      For us, fireflies are a June thing…sometimes July too..but the weather in September turns cool in the north, and we never see them then — sorry!

  59. Kirsten Wichert says:

    Another great blog! I also love waking to the sound of birds. I live in L.A. County. However, behind my house is a very large tree nursery….so I get plenty of nature. Even racoons, oppossum, and an occasional hawk. My most favorite thing is when one of my cats sits in a window chirping back at the birds. She is a pretty good immitator. Sometimes a larger bold bird will come within 2 feet, sit on the back fence and tell her off! BTW, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes is my favorite song! I haven’t watched Cinderella in a while. It was my daughter’s favorite princess when she was little. (living in a city, we never let the cats out….too many cars! so we think they are making friends with the birds….don’t you?) 😉

  60. Doreen Strain says:

    Oh Susan, you pull on one of my heart strings when you talk about your bird feeders. When we lived in Upstate NY, it was on a dirt road way back in the woods. We had several bird feeders and a bird bath. Our house was on a hill so our garage was under the house and our master bedroom was over it. Therefore our bedroom window allowed us to see high up into the trees. We took a large bird feeder and put it on a pulley and hoisted it up into the tree. This allowed us to wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and jump back into bed and just have a ball watching the show our little neighbors would put on for us. We kept the bird book next to the bed because we would sometimes see a bird we had never seen before. We used to think of the squirrels as the clowns in this whole circus that was going on outside of our bedroom window. Only problem is….they can get very used to you being close to them and they get a “little too friendly”. We had to have several of them evicted from our attic because they weren’t paying rent!!!!! They started inviting all of their relatives to come live with them. All the little chipmuncks were just as funny. Here in FL we have tons of cardinals. Soooooo miss seeing them in the snow. 🙁 There just isn’t the same mixture of birds here in the south that you have in the northeast. We miss all our little neighbors! Thanks for allow me the enjoyment of seeing them at your feeder. We have tons of squirrels here and would go broke if we started feeding the birds. (And I know you know what I mean)…it can be like a full time job keeping the feeders full when the squirrels start coming for dinner! Well, tweet tweet! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  61. Siobhan says:

    I enjoyed your post so much! I live in Ireland now but am from Delaware. I can’t tell you how much I miss seeing cardinals every day, and blue jays. I’m trying to learn about the birds here but cardinals–they are in my heart and seeing a photo of them transports me home.

  62. Deborah says:

    Oh my goodness, Boy Howdy! Can I ever identify! Some of my very favorite things here today: Henry David Thoreau, Cardinals and birds at the feeders, squirrels, and Cinderella! (Love the cuties on your windowsill)!!

    We get lots of the sweet red birdies here too, and I am always thrilled to see them. When I finally found the bird bath of my dreams, and set it up, sort of under a red fire bush, no birds visited for the longest time….one day at my kitchen window I saw the first bird!! Splashing and just having a good ole’ time a bright red Cardinal. Love your blog today, and all the comments. Have a great day Girls!!

  63. Carrie P. says:

    I am a bird watcher too. We have a lot of cardinals and they are so pretty to see when it snows.

  64. Janet says:

    Several years ago my youngest daughter was 10 and had walked to her friend’s house and on the way up the sidewalk to ring the bell a bluebird landed on her head and stayed there until her friend opened the door and they laughed so hard about the bluebird of happiness blessing Elizabeth. Thought you might enjoy this. Loved the passage from Thoreau, first time I had ever heard that one. Love your blog and look forward to reading it everyday. Thanks.

  65. Kerry S. says:

    Loved the bird story! When we lived in Ohio, I was thrilled when a cardinal pair build a nest in the upper portion of our patio cover. We had to carefully watch our cats when they were outside as they would lay in wait while the adult birds flew back and forth to feed the babies!
    We now live on the Palos Verdes Peninsula (LA harbor & Trump golf course) where we have pea fowl flocks! Love feeding them a mix of sunflower seeds and wild bird seed. This attracts other seed eaters – both birds and squirrels. The squirrels aren’t as bad as the pigeons! Now falcons occaisionaly visit and the pigeons flee! Watching the peafowl has been an amazing experience over the 16 years we’ve lived here. Right now one peahen has 4 small chicks. Earlier this summer another peahen had 6 (six slick chicks) which were reduced to 4 (known as the 4 Peeps). No one on the peninsula is neutral about the peafowl – either love them or hate them! It does mean you can’t have a lot of flowers because they eat them although they have not discovered the sweet peas this year! They do eat snails so our roses flourish.
    I love the native American tradition about the feathers – we have a huge “bouquet” of peacock feathers so must be especially blessed!

    • Kerry S. says:

      Forgot to add that we have a hummingbird family that feeds on our exuburant pineapple sage bush! When one stops to rest on the wires outside the kitchen garden window, our calico cat chirps to them.

  66. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Loved the blog and all the bird stories! Just today, my husband didn’t feed the doves and the sparrows (and yes the occasional Jay), and the birds come up to the window – begging! Poor birds, no feed for awhile because we’ve had skunks trying to move in with us! How could anything so pretty, smell so bad?

  67. Gail says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for another lovely message.
    In the Spring a husband and wife chickadee made a nest in the silk flower wreathe hanging on my mudroom door. Each time someone would enter or leave the birds would quickly fly away. They always returned a few minutes later. The nest held three eggs and the mother watched over them religiously making a racket each time someone disturbed her by coming to the door. I viewed the whole scene very conveniently through a tiny window. After a few weeks the eggs hatched and the parents fed those birds constantly. It was a sight to see. I also saw the little birdies finally leave the nest and fly away. Nature is quite remarkable!! Does anyone else love the cooing sound of mourning doves? I find it so comforting.

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Gail, when I was a child, my mother once told me an old wive’s tale that their cooing meant someone was going to die! She didn’t like them at all. Well, I learned, when I was older, that they mate for life and mourn their mate if something happens to them. I personally love their soft cooing and welcome them in the trees around our house but my favorites are the chickadees with their perky happy song!

    • Marilyn says:

      I love sound of their cooing. It always amazes me how unafraid of us they are. They have nests in our trees and seem to recognize that we are their neighbors! I think they are very sweet.

      Marilyn (in Dallas)

      • CarolK says:

        I remember being told as a child that same story about the morning doves – they are mourning the loss of a loved one. Every time I hear their coo I think about that saying. They aren’t very bright birds though, I’ve seen them standing in the middle of our road, waiting it seems for the next car to come by. They will only move at the very last second. The hawks also have a field day in our back yard picking them off all the time. Good thing there are so many of them.

  68. bj says:

    Dear Susan, this is your stalker, bj, and I just wanted to tell you that years ago, we lived for a short while in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. I am from West Texas and had never seen a hummingbird. There, they live in DROVES…thousands of the beautiful and delightful little hummers. A friend told me to put my hummingbird feeder quite a ways from my front porch…then, gradually move it closer and closer. We did this for a few weeks. Then, we would sit right beside the feeder and could feel the wind from their little tiny wings. One day, I held my finger beside the feeder and, lo and behold, one of the tiny creatures LANDED on it. I nearly p’d my pants. My heart was racing faster than it’s little wings were moving. Every day after that, I would sit and one would land. My Mr. Sweet’s mom came for a visit and she did the same thing…and talked about it until the day she died.
    Try it…it will work, I promise.!!
    xo bj

    • Jen says:

      That sounds amazing! The first time a hummingbird flew past me my heart about stopped because I thought it was some massive insect because I didn’t know how loud their wings could be. It would be so magical to have one land on you!

  69. Laura says:

    Forget the cookbooks Sue. You should be writing a non-fiction book a la Gladys Taber. I have found no one yet that fills the void left by her passing, but this entry comes awful close. I would buy that book in heartbeat, especially if it was illustrated with your wonderful watercolors. Your blog keeps getting better all the time.

  70. Carolyn says:

    Hi Susan!

    LOL!! Okay this will be the third time to attempt to make a comment! First it was a storm and the computer loses power….and then I messed up and forgot to put my name, etc…and then lost the comment!!

    First, I wanted to ask you if you had any recommendations for storing all of your china. I love love china and I have noticed since I have been following you on the blog, that you obviously do too! My china cabinet in my dining room is full and I live in an older English cottage style home with very limited storage space. I am thinking your home is older too and maybe it is limited too on storage. I have thought about getting another china cabinet but not sure if I will like the looks of of two china cabinets in the dining room….or maybe I should purchase a storage cabinet like a pie safe. Before I make any purchases, I thought I would check in to see if you had any ideas. How many sets of dishes do you have?? 🙂 They are all beautiful!!

    Also the beautiful pansy teacup and saucer on this post is beautiful!! I have the jelly set and the server…and I LOVE it!! Do you think the teacup will someday be available on your website store??

    Thank you so much!! Hope you are having a fabulous Labor Day weekend!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Carolyn, It’s been perfect…just finished watching The Young Victoria and am all teary eyed! Beautiful movie!

      China….my favorite thing. When I moved into this house, my dad came and removed the doors on a tall hutch-like cupboard in our kitchen, that is where lots of it is. We have sort of collected storage here and there along the way, a dry sink, and a tall kind of pie-safeish sort of cupboard; it holds a lot. The pie safe and the dry sink are both in the dining room. There are two hutches in the living room!

      Someday I’ll have to do a post about the dishes. They are so addicting! Comes from loving to set the table! I have maybe ten sets, but not all full sets.

      The teacup you’re asking about is no longer being made, I’m sorry . . . things come and go too fast sometimes! Hope your weekend is wonderful too!

      • Carolyn says:

        Wow, Susan, that is awesome to have so many storage units for your china!! Perfect! Then I think I will buy a pie safe sort of storage cabinet…and I never thought to have my china pieces in the living room!! I just have been painting my built-in bookcase all day today in the living room a cottage white…I think I am going to try to use it as china storage too …see how I like having china in the living room!! LOL! Thank you for all of the ideas! 🙂 I have a couple of full sets of china and then quite a few incomplete sets too with teapots just for tea parties with a friend! I am addicited to buying an assortment of pieces on ebay! 🙂 So much fun! …I would so enjoy your future post about your china…and maybe also your china storage units!! 🙂 hint*hint* 🙂 LOL!!

        I saw Young Victoria with my daughter recently….great movie!! 🙂
        I better get to bed….picnic with family tomorrow!
        Thanks again! 🙂

  71. Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

    Susan – we are such soulmates…I have birds everywhere you look in my house (where there isn’t Beatrix Potter figures!). The first thing I did when I moved into my home was put out birdhouse and feeders. My sewing machine sits in front of a window looking out onto both a feeder and a house….I actually wrote that in my Dream Cottage Journal 18 years ago….and now I have it. Need I mention that it’s the cats favorite place also, especially when the window is open? We have an especially cheeky Cardinal that will come right to the screen and chirp until Pearl or Sadie come to the window!! They will sit there for hours making noises at each other. Amazing! I have squirrels, chipmunks, a woodchuck who lives in the back of the garden, and occasional visits from a red fox and a raccoon and I live in the city!! Well, it doesn’t hurt that there is a huge park near by but…really!! Sometimes I feel like Snow White!! I love it!

  72. I love your mom because she saved your artwork. Doesn’t that just say what you created mattered. Love it.

  73. Doreen Strain says:

    Hahahaha! Good Morning FOSB “girlfriends”! I just had to share this: I’m studying for my Masters in Nursing Leadership. So, I’m here in my office at my desk studying and jump on over to this page ( just to see what you gals are up too). Now of course you all know when we come for a visit we are greeted by the sound of Susan’s little song bird. Well……I should have turned the sound down….because…..my husband yells in from the livingroom….” That doesn’t sound like studying to me”!!!!! Snagged !!!! Well, you all know you do the same thing! Come here several times a day just to keep up with the goings on! Gotta love it! Happy Sunday ! Now…back to studying for me! FOSB 4~Ever!
    ~ Doreen ~

    • Karen P says:

      I’m right there with you, Doreen. Right now I have the sound turned off because my husband is sitting here in the living room with me. We love our men, though, don’t we! Good luck on your Masters! You’re a sweetie! Will sure be a benefit and a blessing to all that you “lead!”

  74. Kimi says:


    I love watching the bird feeder! its better then TV… Nature is always better never boring always a joy! In Nature or at home or on a walk its the best thing to bring you back into peace! Love you art very well done….

  75. mary B. says:

    i’ve never blogged before but i had to comment on ther birds! we were just watching our hummingbirds on our two feeders and thinking about their trip from northern illinois to mexico(i think). i don’t know how they make it being so small! i also thought of you as we booked our train trip from chicago to whitefish,MT to see our oldest son who is returning from Iraq after his third deployment! we are so excited about the trip and giving him a big hug!!!

    • sbranch says:

      SO happy for you…I sometimes watch the videos of troops being welcomed home, or surprising their children, makes me cry every time!! How about that dog hugging that one soldier…did you see that? So Sweet! Have a wonderful time. Tell him THANK YOU!!

  76. Marilyn says:

    Loved this post! We are blessed to have many different varities of birds, plus those who migrate here during the winter. It’s a great mix!

    Cardinals are my favorites. I rarely see the bright red males without their brownish coated female mate. A few years ago I had the privilege of watching a Cardinal couple give flying lessons to their babies. Absolutely adorable!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  77. Sheryl from Foresthill says:

    When things are looking gray you bring sunshine into my world. Love You, Susan.

  78. Francine says:

    And speaking of birds..today we had a ton of hummingbirds at our feeder – I suppose they are fattening up to head south 🙁 . Then when I went out to the garage, there was a little sparrow fluttering about! I opened the door to let him out. Also, I went to my mom’s assisted living to visit her, and at one of their doors, there was a wild turkey pecking and gobbling at the door – it seemed to be VERY mad that no one would let it come in!

  79. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Morning Sweet Sue…I’ve been offline for days…I have to “Borrow” Herbster’s Laptop…since My Computer got Fried… C’est la vie…:-) anywho…It took me a few days to get all My “Autumn” Up…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…now I just stare at Our “Enchanted-Cottage”….Yay!…. Love Your Stories of Your Love for The Birdies….Tweet…Chirp…peep…:-) I Share Your Love for The Cardinals…They are so Magical….Two Christmases ago I saw My First in over 20 years(Here in Florida)…it was very early Christmas Morning…a misty rain falling down & Poof! I looked out my window in the front courtyard… there He was…behind him was one of the Poinsettia…Red Velvet-like & so was The Cardinal…(where was my camera)???? I was Looking at a “LIVE” Christmas Card….it was a Glorious Christmas Morning…& since that Magical Morning My Cardinals are always around with New Baby Birdies too…so I fill my little bird feeders & Keep the water Fresh in the Birdbath & Sing with The Birdies too! Wishing You a Delightful Friday…Sweet Sue…Hugzzz to You & Joe & Kitty & all Your Birdies! xoxo Poof!

  80. Mammamisia says:

    Twój rysunek kiedy byłaś mała jest kochany. Miło, że masz go na pamiątkę. Ja też zbieram rysunki moich dzieci. Pozdrawiam! Iza

    • sbranch says:

      Here’s what Google translate says Iza is saying:
      “Your drawing when you were little is loved. Glad you got it as a souvenir. I also collect pictures of my children. Yours! Iza”

      Now I will write her back via Google translate….

      Dziękuję bardzo Iza! Jestem tak szczęśliwy, moja matka uratowała mi rysunki, grafiki zadowolony zapisać swoje dzieci. Dziękujemy!
      which means: Thank you so much Iza! I am so happy my mother saved my drawings, glad you save your children’s artwork. Thank you!
      We are so bi-lingual!

  81. ashley says:

    Dear Susan,

    Thank you for the delight and wonder you draw, speak, live. I have several of your books and love them. I ,too love books about birds. Would you please tell me the name of the bird book in this post? It is lovely.

    Blessings to you,

    • sbranch says:

      Hmmm, well isn’t that fun. I have a lot of bird books, I put that away, and now I’m not sure which one it was! We are packing to leave on Monday, otherwise I’d sit down and look for it! If I find it, I’ll do another post about it, or you could ask me again in a couple of months, when I’m back home and have time to look! Sorry!

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