The first bird feeder

The first bird feeder

Birds have been a fascination of mine for as long as I can remember. You’d think I had spare time to burn given how much of it I can spend (a.k.a. waste) watching them. You’d also probably think I’d have long ago set up bird feeders and birdhouses all over my yard in order to attract them … you’d be wrong. That obvious step only happened at my house for the first time this spring. Wow… what I’ve been missing!

If asked a few months ago which bird species frequent my yard, I’d have said “robins, sparrows and, once in a blue moon, a cardinal or two.” Man oh man was I out of touch. It’s a veritable aviary back there, and all it took for me to notice it was bit of seed and some suet. Needless to say one tube feeder has since quickly grown to three tubes, two suet feeders, two hummingbird feeders and a thistle sock. The fact is I’d put even more out, but then I’d also have to sell my possessions on the street in order to afford keeping all of those feeders filled. Those feathered suckers can eat! But, I do love knowing that they think of this teeny spot in Michigan as a good place to grab a quick snack.

Back in April, while my mother was visiting, I hung my first tube seed feeder. I hung it in a crabapple tree right outside one of my studio windows. The spot was carefully chosen because so many hours of my week are spent sitting right next to that window. With the perfect height selected for maximum visibility and squirrel-proofing, and the seemingly perfect mix of seed poured, I was in business. I eagerly sat back day after day hoping to see a bird, any bird, perched and chomping away. Days passed and nothing happened … I felt like a failure. My supportive mom repeatedly told me to just be patient and to have faith. She forgets the impatient twelve year old who lives in my head screaming for instant gratification.

Determined to make this work for even one measly sparrow, I hung a second feeder and crossed my fingers. More days … more disappointment. Then … one day … a glimmer of hope. I noticed that the seed level in one of the feeders had gone down by a couple of millimeters. Yes … I’m talking an 1/8th of an inch.  The way that I carried on as a result though, you’d have thought I’d won an Oscar or Pulitzer Prize. “They found me” I screamed as I symbolically patted myself on the back for having finally succeeded. My mother was undoubtedly relieved too … I don‘t think she had any more bird-feeder pep talks left in her. Within days I added more feeders. Never mind that birds don’t really need feeders in the spring and summer because they have plenty of natural options. Never mind too that I hadn’t actually seen a bird eating yet. All I cared about was the fact that the seed had gone down so I was obviously a bird feeder success story. Hallelujah and Amen! For those needing more proof, a day or two after that I finally saw a bird at the feeder (yup, a sparrow … followed by more elated screaming… me, not the bird.) The day after that another bird, and another. The word had finally gotten out: seed over at Myriam’s place.

Sparrow at my first feeder

So now, months later the new source of entertainment is identifying the latest new visitor to the feeders. To date, I’ve noticed fifteen different species and counting, some that I enjoy more than others (more on that in a later entry.) Admittedly more time is being ahem, uh, “invested” in um, “research” for my future work … and ok, fine, sometimes I waste a bit of time just ogling, but let’s call that occupational therapy.


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