Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Feathers of Emerald and Cochineal

A resonance of emerald...
A rush of cochineal!

~ Emily Dickinson ~
What would a garden be without its little feathered visitors?  Putting up bird feeders and scattering seed and bread crumbs on the lawn seems to come naturally to the majority of gardeners.  Most of us have an unquenchable need to attract as many different kinds of birds to our gardens as possible.  I am no different!  

I think most gardeners would identify fully with these lovely, heartfelt sentiments:

I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder
for a moment,
while I was hoeing in a village garden,
and I felt that I was more distinguished
by that circumstance
than I should have been by any epaulet
I could have worn.
~ Henry David Thoreau ~
Please click the read more button below to continue this post...

These sunbirds are daily visitors to our two nectar feeders...
They take long sips of the sugar water I mix for them (I don't normally add cochineal...this was added specifically for the photgraphs today).

They really can't get enough of this...

As soon as the sunbirds are done, the white-eyes move into's an on-going dance between them...the near constant arrival and departure of emerald and cochineal feathers, interspersed with the arrival of ochre and fawn feathers...
Still my turn, so back off...
Ooo, this looks good...

Oh, yes...sip, sip, sip!

OK, I'm done...but I'll just sit a while longer, in case I want some more!

Apart from their obvious aesthetic and melodious contributions to our gardens, birds serve a vitally important function...

Today, I am sure no one needs to be told that
the more birds a yard can support,
the fewer insects there will be 
to trouble the gardener the following year.

~  Thalassa Cruso ~


  1. Owww so cute !! all that lovely birds !!! love Ria....happy day

  2. Oh, how marvelous! Birds I've never seen or heard of before! They're just beautiful!

    Thanks so much for these great photos.

  3. Deriree, I'm simply entranced by your beautiful birds. The Sunbirds have the most gorgeous colours.
    What a privilege to have them come to your garden.

    Your nectar feeders are so elegantly made too.
    Would you mind telling me the quantities of sugar to water you use?

  4. Hi Susan:

    So pleased you enjoyed this post.

    I use ordinary white sugar. The mix is 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of boiled water. This apparently closely resembles natural flower nectar in taste and is not at all harmful.

    This morning, I spotted a little squirrel drinking out of one of the feeders! I couldn't believe my eyes!

    1. Hi Desiree, hadn't used my bird feeder for a while but am setting it up on my 'hacky/pruned' tree. Do you think I could remember the formula for the nectar - ha ha, but at least I knew where to come back to find it. Many thanks, as always and lovely to have another look at your gorgeous photos! Kind regards, Susan of this n that blog xx

  5. Oh, you have squirrels, too? I enjoyed your fun bird photos.

  6. Thank you Desiree, it'd be so nice to have a feeder outside one of our windows - just as an additional nectar source for our birds :)

    Ha ha, what a surprise - seeing that little squirrel... who knows what else may be attracted.

    Cheers :D

  7. The Sunbirds remind me a little of Hummingbirds. I had no idea that there were other birds that would drink from nectar feeders. Did you make those feeders? They are really neat looking.

  8. I love your feeders. I have never seen them like that before. Those birds are just so beautiful and you captured them wonderfully.

  9. Hi Desiree, I'm just catching up. Your feathered visitors are beauiful; one so bright and the other with such subtle tones. I love your nectar feeder. I'm not surprised that they queue up to sip!

  10. It's me again... my darling husband walked in with a finished nectar feeder, the design of which he'd copied from your photos!! I was, needless to say, delighted absolutely.

    I'm back here again to check out the nectar formula - and to tell you that a Desiree Feeder will be in operation in our garden very soon :D)


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