October 13, 2008

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When I was younger, I looked on in wild wonder at a certain breed of older ladies.  While they looked normal – well groomed, no nervous tics to speak of –  they had habits that set them apart from the crowd – kooky habits.  Despite saying, “I will never ever be one of them,”  I’ve somehow, over the past couple of years, turned into one and am now likely the focus of some other young person’s mocking.  Though there are many facets to my kookiness, here is the most glaring example of my transformation:  I feed animals.

To be fair, Gregory started it! Oh, listen to me, blaming it on him.  Seriously, he did though.  We were at the coast a few years ago and he saw some hummingbirds darting around a feeder.  I was so tickled at his excitement, “Buddy, did you see that one?  How about that one?  They’re so neat!”, that I bought him a feeder.  Placed just outside our kitchen window, we’ve had many a tiny visitor.

Then there were the Bushtits, literally the cutest birds, and aside from the hummingbird, the smallest in North America.  They twitter around in flocks, and despite their rather drab color, they bring so much cheer, bobbing and darting through the trees.  Anyway, I kept seeing them in our yard, and then I saw them en masse at a suet feeder at my neighbor’s house and, well, you can see the giant snowball forming, can’t you?

So, we started with one suet feeder outside the bedroom window, and got lots of traffic from the Bushtits, as well as Warblers, Flickers, Jays, Starlings, Chickadees, and Juncos.  As you can imagine, I got excited about all these birds, and thought, well, wouldn’t it be neat if we could watch them in the dining room, too?  Feeder count: three.

Then I noticed all the house finches on the wire and wondered why they weren’t gobbling up the goodies at the suet feeders.  As I later learned, at the Backyard Bird Shop, they’re not big on suet, but boy do they love sunflower seeds.  Feeder count: four.  Additional birds: House Finches, Purple Finches, Song Sparrows, Pine Siskins, Golden Crowned Sparrows, Gold Finches, and Lesser Gold Finches.

At this point, I could see the kooky transformation happening in a big way, yet, rather than stop right there, I asked Laura (yeah, I’m on a first name basis with the bird shop manager) what kind of birds eat at the flat feeders they have in the shop.  Well, gentle readers, a whole new crop that wasn’t visiting before, and since I had already crossed the threshold there was no going back.  Feeder count: five.  Additional birds: Black Headed Gros Beak and Evening Grosbeak, plus a Hawk (not sure what kind) that came to munch on these fellas (he missed – this time).

But, you may remember, I said animals.  I feed animals.  Well, as those in my situation already know, feeders don’t just attract birds, but squirrels, too.  They are tenacious, I might add.  So, as the package of squirrel food says, “Don’t fight ’em, feed ’em!”  Feeder count: six.  Kooky lady transformation: done and done!