Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Are We Hungry?


When I went outside in the bitter cold the other day to refill the birdfeeders and put out more suet, I was surprised that there were no birds around. I wondered if a hawk had passed by to bully them. I refilled the feeders anyway, and hung more suet in the wire cage along with the half finished suet block. As I worked I heard one bird tell another, “She’s bringing fresh food,” and another bird answering, “I know, I know. I see!”

It reminded me of standing in a Chinese smorgasbord line-up, looking at the dregs of a pan of … something … and then seeing the waitress bring over a new steaming hot pan of fresh chow mein.

As soon as I left the birdfeeder area, a flock of tiny birds (bushtits, I think) came to the suet and covered the whole block with their hungry little bodies. When I looked back I couldn’t even see the suet block, only a swarm of feathers. I think now, that maybe the suet had frozen and was hard to pick at. It was that cold. The fresh block was not frozen and everyone ate well that night. My photo shows only six of the birds, but I’m sure there were more than ten or twelve on the suet in those first moments after I left.

Harshest winter, freezing cold,

Tests survival of the bold.

Icy winds pierce feathers fine

As the tiny creatures dine.

They know they’ll die if they can’t eat

So at the feeder they all meet.

New suet hangs there in the wire

Perhaps their fate is not so dire,

Internal furnaces will warm

The bodies of the little swarm.

They’ll live to see another day

And soon the spring will come to stay.


Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

56 thoughts on “Are We Hungry?

  1. When I had a bird feeder in Michigan, I noted that when the feed was gone, so were the birds. No suprise they were hanging silently nearby. I just love these little birds! So amazing that something so tiny can survive such deep, bitter cold. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I can understand that about the empty feeders, but both the seed containers and the suet cages were about half full. I thought it was odd and then they came back in droves when I added more food. It really is amazing that these birds survive. I saw a hummingbird on my deck a few days ago, checking out the bright colours on the Christmas lights I had just taken down and had left on the patio table.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Who doesn’t appreciate a warm meal on a cold winter’s day! They know who takes care of them. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have a Beavis & Butthead comment, Bushtits. Hahaha.

    Love the poem.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Great photo and wonderful poem! I love watching the birds come to the feeder. Dwight

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the poem! I’ve been keeping my feeder full too while it’s so cold.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I didn’t think about the suet turning hard for the birds in the freezing cold, Anneli. This is something I will share with a few people I know. The birds are so cute and have cheered me up this evening! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Caring for animals is what sets the good people apart from the not so good ones……….. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Such cute little birds, I’m glad they found a good place to hang out. A bird’s lot is a tough one in winter!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the photo and you reminded me to go out and grab the suet and the hummingbird feeder. Don’t forget to put out fresh water as well. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. In our village almost everyone feeds the birds. Some are hanging up a piece of lard, looks funny. I have 3 feeders and 3 suet balls in a net and there is a steady coming and going out there. I just love to watch them. Thanks for the pretty pictures and the little poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One of winter’s great pleasures is feeding the birds. Thank you for sharing a beautiful post.


  12. Aw…being the bird lover that I am, I loved your poem, Anneli. I haven’t been able to keep our thistle socks full. Do you get many black-capped chickadees? I love them!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You are and I were on the ‘same page,’ so to speak, when we posted our blogs today. Fabulous poem, Anneli, and photo to match.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Pam. I thought I answered this comment but I don’t see it so here I am again. Always nice to see your comments here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • P.S. What do you do when the big mean black birds come and chase away all the cute small birds from the suet? We’re dealing with that now… :-0

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, yesterday I saw some starlings coming in to the feeder and I waited until they had just a bite or two and then I opened the window closest to the feeder really quickly and that scared them off. The little birds came back after a few minutes and the starlings didn’t, at least not until later. It’s ongoing. When the pigeons were a problem, I put some cracked corn on the ground for them and then the feeders were available to the other birds.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Hereabouts, with what is called “winter” in southern Texas, we wouldn’t really need to feed the birds, but we do it anyway and they’re happy about it. And we, too, when we can watch them.
    Have a great weekend,

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I used to make suet to leave out for the birds – I should do that again. Do you think it would be safe to leave my fabric trimmings (they’re all about 1/8″ wide) for the birds to take to build nests out of, or would that potentially cause a problem for them?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh they’re sweet! As are all birds of the Tit family, in my opinion! I read somewhere that birds (perhaps small ones, only) need to eat their bodyweight in food each day to survive the night. Such a precarious existence!

    My husband has suet balls out for our birds, too, and we’re managing to maintain a community of sparrows as well. They seem to be doing ok again here, as a species. We’ve put upside-down wire hanging baskets over the suet ball holders to keep the greedy pigeons off….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that always the problem with feeding the birds? The big ones are hungry too. I like to try to make sure they all get some but the bigger ones (pigeons, and starlings in our case) need to be shooed away once in a while to give the others a chance.

      Liked by 1 person

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