Finally, My Yard Has Come Alive

There’s a row of seven tall spruce trees running along the back edge of my yard, providing me privacy from the neighbor behind my house. That row of evergreen trees–and my lovely sunroom–are two important reasons I decided to buy this house.

And I’ve recently discovered that this row of spruce trees is serving an important purpose for someone else. Each evening at dusk, dozens and dozens of robins fly into those trees to roost for the night. Even if I’m not in the sunroom, I hear them arriving because of their constant chattering as they negotiate their individual spots on the inner branches of the trees.

I shot this 19-second video the other night to try to capture it. You can hear their chatter, and if you watch the left side of the trees you’ll see some birds moving in and out.

The whole thing is surprisingly dramatic. Robins are strong and fast fliers, so they shoot in like bullets in small groups, one after the other, continuing until it’s too dark to see them anymore. Some of them fly directly into the spruces, while others first land in the nearby crab apple to watch the goings-on before choosing which tree to enter.

I watch the branches of the spruces bouncing up and down as the robins move around inside, jockeying for the best spots. I’m guessing the best spots are those closest to the tree trunk because there they would be most protected from hazards like inclement weather and night-hunting owls. Knowing that those trees are loaded with so many birds each night gives me a huge thrill!

House Finches smooching on Valentine's Day
House Finches “smooching” on Valentine’s Day — too funny.

I’ve been frustrated since I moved here six months ago because I haven’t been attracting many birds to my feeders.  For the past twenty years, watching and photographing feeder birds has been something that gives me a great deal of pleasure, so not being able to do that has been a bit depressing. But in the past couple of weeks, finally–after I moved my feeders to a new location closer to the shelter of the spruces–I’ve got lots of birds! I think maybe they were all too spooked by the Cooper’s Hawk that likes to swoop through the yard quite often, and my previous feeder location was probably a bit too exposed for their liking.

Dark-eyed Junco in spruce tree - close crop (800x700)
Dark-eyed Junco in the safety of the spruce tree
Dark-eyed Junco with wind-blown feathers (768x800)
Dark-eyed Junco with wind-blown feathers
Dark-eyed Junco watching me - close up (800x604)
Dark-eyed Junco watching me watching him

Now I usually have a couple dozen Dark-eyed Juncos here at any given time. I’ve always loved these little black and white sparrows, with their flash of white tail feathers when they fly, and their pretty tinkling calls. In my past experience, juncos have always tended to feed on the ground, eating seed that has fallen from the feeders. So I was surprised when I put up a new thistle feeder and they immediately began feeding directly from the feeder as well as on the ground below.

American Tree Sparrow on patio with seeds (800x425)
American Tree Sparrow

And today I found a White-throated Sparrow mixed in with the juncos and house sparrows…that’s a new bird for my Ohio yard list! This photo is partly blurred by the window, but it’s still a record of the bird being here so I’ll keep it.

White-throated Sparrow - partly blurred by window (800x566)

This little red squirrel entertained me the other day as he made attempts to get to the thistle seed hanging from the crab apple tree.

Red squirrel in crab apple tree.JPG

So I’m much happier now that my yard has more bird activity. I even got inspired to finally buy some valances to finish my sunroom. I’d been putting it off because of the cost and because I just couldn’t decide which fabric pattern would go well in that room with the yellow walls and my brightly-colored “Happy Chair.” I found some natural brown cotton valances with a fringed edge and they are absolutely perfect. And I re-covered a pillow to coordinate with my green sofa so now it’s a comfy and aesthetically-pleasing place to read a book and watch birds on a sunny winter day. Last night when I’d completed all those finishing touches, I found myself standing in the sunroom smiling from ear to ear. It finally feels the way I wanted it to feel…like MY home. 🙂

Sunroom with valances finally hung (800x594).jpg





  1. Kim it must feel good to finally have some feathered visitors. Love all the photos and that squirrel, so cheeky. The room looks lovely and you can watch the birds from your window. Nothing better than revamping a room. Im in the need to do this at the old farm house we live in too. Happy spring birding.


  2. That sunroom is a lovely spot to bird watch! You seem to have many of the same winter birds we have here. And the robins are arriving in droves in our woods lately. I love their happy chirp chirp call. I am always fascinated to watch them yank worms up out of the ground – even as cold as it is in winter! Spring is definitely just around the corner here. I have walked to the river a couple of times in the past week and I’m beginning to see some signs of migration to the north. I even heard some Sandhill Cranes flying over last week… lots of geese too!


  3. First and foremost, Happy Valentines Day my friend. I’m always pleased to read that you are feeling more at home and that your bird friends are bringing you joy and love. I miss your smiling face during my birding sessions at Stony Creek, but am looking forward to a warm Warbler welcome come May. Keep the faith Kim.


    • Thank you, Rob. I’m so glad you haven’t forgotten me up there in Michigan. Looking forward to seeing you and some of my other dear friends in May is what’s been keeping me going through some of the hardest times. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Kathy too.


  4. Hi Kim, your sunroom looks so pretty, cheerful and light. I’m very glad the birds have returned. I can certainly understand why you’ve missed them so much. I feel similar about the population in my yard. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures and recording. Have a lovely week. 🙂


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