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Common Birds Flock to Bird Feeder
I’ve just come in from feeding the hogs. You might know it by its other name, filling the bird feeders.
No kidding, my neighborhood has the hungriest birds I’ve ever seen in my life. They way they go through seed, I’m surprised they stay as small as they are. Then again, their failure to gain weight may have something to do with the way seed goes through them. But enough about my poor patio.
I consider bird feeding money well spent, even though I’m not getting the rooty-toot fancy-feather birds you see on the bird seed bag. I get sparrows and finches, mostly.
My mother tends to scoff at this. Mom is a serious bird person. She considers the above to be common birds, fine for the masses and the unserious such as myself, but of little interest to her. She prides herself on her ability to attract orioles and hummingbirds. I think she bribes them.
And for what? Orioles you see as a flash of orange zipping through the trees. Hummingbirds you see even less. Where’s the fun in that? If I’m going to feed birds, I want some amusement value. Watching four dozen sparrows and finches scatter like bats out of you-know-where every time I let the dog out the back door - now that’s entertainment.
With the birds I get the extra added attraction of squirrels. I have made sure to buy squirrel-proof bird feeders, which of course means the squirrels have been feasting. There’s no such thing as a squirrel-proof bird feeder. It’s a legend, a myth, like the lost chord or the fountain of youth.
Take the feeder I bought last year. It’s shaped like a little green house. The roof is the lid, and it has a lock to keep it in place. Down by the feeding trough there’s a bar that will shut off the seed flow if it’s touched by anything bigger than a house finch. The salesperson assured me it was the latest in antisquirrel technology.
Ha. Those thieves had it open two minutes after I put it up. I clamped the roof in place with a heavyduty bungee cord. Took them another two minutes to get rid of that.
I thought for a second or two about adding a combination lock, but I figured I’d just look out there to see a squirrel wearing a tiny little stethoscope and a little eyeshade, twirling the dial, listening to the tumblers clicking into place.
So now I just leave it open and the squirrels climb right in. I’m not kidding. They lounge around in there, like it’s some sort of squirrel spa, relaxing and enjoying several leisurely meals a day.
My mother, of course, thinks this is just ridiculous. The squirrels, she points out, may well be keeping more desirable birds away with their boorishness. I say who cares? As long as everybody’s fed and I’m having fun, what’s the difference?
So I don’t get orioles. So what? Not long ago I had a rose-breasted grosbeak at the feeder. Mom has been trying to attract them for years and I got one pretty much on blind luck. I think it made her kind of sore. Come to think of it, the squirrels didn’t look too happy about it, either. Little wonder. He was in their spa.
© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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