“I can find God in nature, in animals, in birds and the environment.” – Pat Buckley
Several years ago my wife and I did a renovation and addition to our house. Our home had what is referred to as a “galley” kitchen which is basically a hallway with an oven and a refrigerator. We expanded the kitchen into the dining room, turned the living room into the dining room, added a laundry room moving the washer and dryer out of the garage and created a new family room with a large bank of windows overlooking our backyard. It was way more than I wanted to do or even I thought we needed but, funny how this works, as hard as I kept applying the brakes the renovation truck continued to roll onward and forward.
What I got out of the deal was a covered patio, a very nice storage area off the patio and the biggest flat screen television I could afford. What is the lesson you ladies can learn from this little story? If you hadn’t already figured it out most men are morons and easy to manipulate. My wife got granite, stainless steel appliances and a laundry room a small family of four could live-in and I got a big screen television. In my little feeble pea sized brain I made a good trade. What a dumb-ass.
Next to my window in the family room I have several bird feeders filled with both seed and suet. I keep my feeders filled year around which allows me to watch the birds come and go throughout the different seasons. The variety of birds that I attract is at times staggering, so much so, that I keep a book next to my chair to help me identify them.
But now I have a bird bully that has taken up residence on my bird feeders. A male and female Common Grackle have decided that the smorgasbord I have created is theirs and only theirs and this has created some issues in my little bird universe.
Over the last twenty years I have built and installed Eastern Bluebird boxes all over my yard. Attracting Bluebirds to nest in one of these boxes has been a very slow process. For years many of them sat along my fence, aging and weathering and attracting the wrong species I had designed them for. But what I have learned about Bluebirds is that they like those old boxes. They aren’t attracted to boxes that have that “new car smell”. They prefer a box that has been around the block, that has a few miles on it. Last year I had five nesting Bluebird couples, this year three more, but my Grackle is keeping them away from the suet and I am afraid that they may search for greener pastures next year if Mr. and Mrs. Grackle don’t lighten up and decide to play nice with the rest of the bird world.
Maybe this sounds like an old man’s hobby, and maybe it is, but to watch a Carolina wren, American Goldfinch or a Painted bunting perch for just moment can be very exciting. Birds surround us, we share the world with them but rarely do we take the time to notice or even acknowledge their existence. Some of us have gotten so busy we don’t even listen to them anymore. Birds have become background noise, like the television playing in the next room.
Me and the Grackle’s need to have a come-to-Jesus meeting soon. I am hoping that he will get bored or find another sandbox to go play in. But when I left the house this morning at 7:30 am, there he was, perched on top of the hook, cackling and fluffing his feathers when any bird, other than his bride, approached. I do admire his persistence but this bully bird really is starting to piss me off. Go bother my mother-in-law down the street. She buys the expensive seed. I am serving hamburger, she is serving filet mignon.
“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” – John Burroughs