A Desire for a Tuna Sandwich Serendipitously Reveals New Customers

Hankerings for a tuna fish sandwich lead to the delightful discovery of a few new customers at the Seed n’ Feed. Had I not been in front of the window while fixing my sandwich and looking out at precisely the right moment, I would have missed a white-breasted nuthatch that suddenly materialized on one of the suet cages. Show of hands, who LOVES when that happens? Right on!

white breasted nuthatch

I keep a camera and binoculars by the window for just such occasions. I have seen some nuthatches on nature walks but this was a first at our shop. OH the thrill! The nuthatch allowed me to snap all the shots I could take in about four seconds time. I just hate to lose a new customer so quickly and I’m sorry to see that what we had to offer wasn’t alluring enough to stay, but at least he knows we’re here and that we always keep the shelves clean and well stocked. That’s the Seed n’ Feed guarantee.

Excited and on high alert post-nuthatch sighting, I studied everyone with intense scrutiny. I scanned across the deck and saw nothing noteworthy until…WAIT! What did we have there at the thistle sock feeder? I noticed a distinct patch on a head that was probably not a chipping sparrow, they generally pass on thistle. The patch on the crown of the head was red, definitely red. Once again, I started snapping away at my mystery shopper. A quick Google search and a few photo comparisons confirmed that we had a common redpoll.

common redpoll

I  watched her flit about the shop, sampling seeds as she rapidly hopped around until she finally left.

She must have enjoyed her shopping experience so much so that she decided to bring back friends and family. Driving a spike in sales on thistle, it was finchy-a-go-go on the deck. Between the (now) common redpolls and house finch, there were too many to count.

I could not believe my good fortune to have seen not one but two new birds here at home in the same day. On this chilly January afternoon, I wonder if there is a very logical reason to explain why I saw two new birds after many months of not spotting anyone new. Maybe it was merely a coincidence, or perhaps they are actually here all the time and I just need to make more sandwiches for lunch.

2/21/13 UPDATE: Well I’ll be! It seems very likely that I witnessed the effects of “superflight.” “It’s only once a decade or so that climatological patterns and bird numbers combine for a superflight that sends six, seven, or eight northern species deep into the central and southern United States.” – Hugh Powell, All About Birds – Around the Lab


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