Feed The Birds Or Not

Spring, that glorious time of year when life once again returns out of the havoc that we call winter. I love spring. The only thing I wish about spring is that it lasted longer than a week. I don’t know about you, but where I live, winter runs a little long then suddenly there are a few good days of nice temperatures and sunny weather. Suddenly, poof, it’s 90° outside. Winter moves to summer like a passing racecar. Yes, you see the colors, but it’s gone before you knew it was there.

This year, I added something new to my spring ritual. I put out a birdfeeder. However, had I known the extreme social and political ramifications of such an act, I may not have done it. First of all, when I told my sister, the gardener, about the birdfeeder, she told me not to take my responsibility lightly. “Once you start, you can never stop because the birds will grow to assume it’s there,” she told me. I never knew of the awesome responsibility a birdfeeder brought. I certainly don’t want to be responsible for forgetting to put out seed one day and causing an apocalyptic event amongst the sparrows. I actually took the birdfeeder in for a week because I could not have so many deaths on my hands. However, my children have assured me, they will keep the birdfeeder full and I will never have to worry about it. Of course, they said the same thing about the goldfish, may he rest in peace.

I did relent though. I placed the birdfeeder in the back of the house near the large window where my family and I could enjoy the birds as they came. Again, I was shocked by the awesome drama that would be played out in front of me after putting up the simple feeder.

Let me say before I continue: I love goldfinches. They are small birds bright yellow colored with black wings. They are a beautiful sign of spring that can crap on your car. The messes are small but rest assured they are there. The thing is they are not just another pretty face. I put my feeder out, filled it full of small black seed, and the finches came. I thought I had been blessed, for these yellow creatures had chosen my feeder above all others to visit. I never realized that I was going to start a turf war. I should’ve known something was up when early one morning I heard music from West Side Story. Somewhere there was the snapping of wings, and in a high voice these words came to me, “When you’re a Finch, you’re a Finch all the way from your first millet seed, till you become Hawk prey.” (Sorry about this Mr. Bernstein). I was stunned. Those cute little black wings are actually leather jackets. I had been invaded by a gang of hoodlum goldfinches. They weren’t just pooping on the rail of my deck. They were marking their turf with graffiti. They weren’t eating seed from a random feeder, they were hanging out at Mr. Ohh!’s diner. I had inadvertently (that means accidentally) invited undesirable elements into my suburban home. Well, not actually into my home, but on to my patio.

Let me give you an example: yesterday, there were three goldfinches and their mauls sitting at the feeder when two sparrows happened by. All the sparrows wanted was a little bit of seed. There was plenty for everybody, I had just filled the thing. But the goldfinches were having none of it. Those yellow demons chased those sparrows away in a storm of flapping, and a series of tweets that would have made Pres. Trump blush. I mean feathers everywhere. Directors who make slasher movies would have shied away from this melee, thinking it was too violent. Luckily there was a Blue Jay handy to break up the show and arrest the guilty. Those miscreants were led away screaming “we didn’t do nothing,” and “I want a lawyer!”

This however was not the end of my new education of the bird world. I started seeing males and females coming to the feeder at the same time. After a few seeds the two would leap from the feeder start flittering around each other in an odd bird dance, then shoot off to some trees behind my house for who knows what illicit activity. My backyard has become a sleazy pickup joint! On an unrelated note there seems to be a lot more twittering from the birds in my yard, so while it may be cheap, at least it has a good house band. Maybe they’re called The Yar… (Better not say it Clapton might sue)

To make matters worse, I have noticed many birds eating some seeds, flying up to a nearby branch, then coming back over and over again. It’s like the bird is addicted to the seeds in the birdfeeder. Have I become a small bird dope dealer? I swear to you I didn’t mean it! Had I known all of this, I would never have gone down this shadowy path in the first place. Honest judge! I’ve heard addictions will lead to violence. And it’s true. I’m afraid to go out my sliding door for fear of retaliation from the birds. I saw the old movie. I know what they’re capable of. When I do venture out to the patio, invariably I am yelled at by these horrific creatures. They haven’t become violent with me yet. So far, they are just like teenagers afraid of the cops. Someone comes near and they scatter. But who knows? One of them will surely find out that I am not carrying a gun. After that happens, I can only speculate about my future.

In the merest blink of an eye I have destroyed the safety of my neighborhood. I’m afraid to plant flowers for fear the environmental people will arrest me for bringing in an invasive species. The thing is, I can’t to take the birdfeeder down. I know it would break up the gang, but then I would have my sister to deal with. She could potentially be more violent than the birds, although Alfred Hitchcock never made a movie about her. What’s a law-abiding homeowner to do?

If you have comments, want to discuss the fight or flight response in bacteria, or have me take a sideways view at your favorite topic. Send me an E-Mail at ohhssidewaysview@gmail.com I’d love to hear from you!

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