Our dishwasher has been broken for a few weeks, and though there’s been a fair bit of grumbling at our house (have you SEEN how many dishes a family of five can produce?), there have also been a few blessings in disguise. For one thing, despite their protests, the girls are learning the fine art of washing dishes by hand. For another thing, as I learned with my own mother years ago, some great mother-daughter bonding can happen over a sink of dirty dishes.

My favourite blessing, though, has been the fact that spending more time over the sink means also spending more time at the kitchen window. There’s an unruly hedge just outside the window and it’s always been the gathering place of a myriad of birds. Until recently, however, I had no idea just how much variety there is in the types of birds that frequent our backyard.

Maddie spotted me gazing out the window one day, and she wanted to join the fun. Her and I have since become avid bird-watchers, digging out a bird book and trying to identify the species as they appear.

On Saturday morning, Maddie went out with a bowl full of bird seed and set up a bird restaurant on the old bench in front of the hedge. “It’s called Birdie Buffet!” she said.
For the rest of the weekend, she and I would periodically tiptoe to the window to see what birds had come to dine. She named the first one that appeared after she ducked back in the house “Bravery.” The others hovered in the hedge, waiting to make sure it was safe.
We managed to capture a few of them on film (or rather, the digital equivalent), but the most interesting ones (the blue jays, and the red-headed finch Maddied named “Finchie”) were also the most shy and they quickly disappeared when we showed up at the window.
The little grey wrens with the yellow beaks were the most bold and apparently the most hungry. Maddie had to replenish her buffet a couple of times, and she was convinced that they’d gained weight by the end of the weekend.

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