It happens this way …
One early winter years ago, I felt a twinge of empathy for all the birds scrounging for food around our yard. I hadn’t gotten into feeding birds yet, but this was an aha moment that ungrinched my tendency to ignore them. So I went to a local store and bought what I thought was an upscale birdfeeder and a package of high-grade thistle. I placed the feeder in a spot where I could enjoy watching the thankful critters dine. But, alas, it was not to be. Here’s what actually happened:
To the songbirds who spurned my feeder
I’m confused. I thought when thistle filled
the Copper Triple Tube, we had a deal.
You’d breakfast in tranquility, spread notes
around our cul-de-sac, return
for evening snacks, and sing, of course,
your best for me. But I thought wrong.
You’ve scavenged through my annuals,
electing seeds – prosaic and alive –
in lieu of mixtures trendy and refined;
refused to jump from ground to rim
before the winter storms set in
to shut my garden down.
I’ve cut my loss and hurt, and stashed
the copper with my thistle sacks.
See the note tacked on the vacant pole:
We’re closed. Gone south. Enjoy the seedless snow.
Well, maybe not “actually” when it came to that sign. However, I was so incensed by their ingratitude that I took down the feeder, packed away the food, and huffed and puffed. It took some research to discover that birds need time to find a new feeder and that thistle is not quite delicacy I thought it was.
Now I have several feeders and a suet cake container in our yard and delight in watching the Steller’s jays, juncos, sparrows, flickers, and others take turns eating sunflower seeds and other Audubon grains every day. Lesson learned: You can’t force Nature to do what you want her to do. Up with creatures who take their time to decide what’s good for them!
And, as we travel through this holiday season into 2021, may we become wise as to what is good for us.
Kathleen Cassen Mickelson says
I love that story! We have three feeders hanging out front: black oil sunflower seed, wild birdseed mix, and thistle. They seem to like the thistle the least! The sunflowers seeds usually win.
Nancy C says
Amen! In addition to our Western friends, we have 4 Eastern Blue Jays who have taken residence. Their sparring with the Magpies is worth the price of seed. 😘
Casey Moffett-Chaney says
Love it! My experience is somewhat close. I had the right food, but I hung it where squirrels lived. Everyday I would fill it full, then come back to find it looted by marauders. At first I thought it was the birds themselves; and then I watched in horror as a squirrel leapt from a branch and landed on the feeder, swinging with joy. I swear that leap went into slow motion, and while in the air, the hubris-filled squirrel turned to look directly at me…and winked.
Sue P says
I enjoyed your “birds eye view” of a new bird feeder!
We have recently re-located to the south & we have quite an array of birds in our yard. I am searching for a new bird feeder. I will take heed to your advice Carolyn as well as the posted comments —
Thank you !