Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)


I had stopped putting food in my birdfeeder at the beginning of summer, not out for moral reasons that birds should find their own food during the summer when it is plentiful in nature, but because I wanted to avoid a war among the sparrows. They are very aggressive birds: they push and peck any bird which comes near the feeder when they eat, so when swarms of sparrows surround the source of food I feel responsible for the uproar. Several weeks ago, however, I read in a local newspaper that one should start feeding birds again in order to attract them on their way south from the north. In the beginning nothing happened. Then some smart sparrows discovered that the free food kitchen was open once again. On the whole they behave orderly.

Occasionally a blue jay tries try to eat some seeds, but they are too big to fit the feeder and have not yet found a way to accommodate themselves. To my surprise, I observed one bird dip his beak into the food and then fly off quickly. The bird would appear again a few minutes later pick up a seed and fly back to the nearest tree. After a while I recognized that it was a titmouse. As a matter of fact there are a couple of titmice. The male has a small feather tuft on his head. They take turns. Each flies to the feeder, picks up a seed and then leaves. Occasionally  ingest more than one seed. Are they late parents? Do they still have to support their brood? They do not land when they see sparrows feeding, for they are timid birds. I hope that their family will be self-- supporting very soon before the cold season starts and the couple is free of its obligations.


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