bunt sign

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

If it weren't for the silly antics of the birds that hang around the feeder on my porch, I don't know if I could take it. Some days the despair just seems to creep through the crack under the door, like a poisonous cloud. Ghosts of lost youth, muddled plans and misguided missiles are hard to avoid.

But the birds do not take note of the follies of men. They have their own follies, chasing each other around the sky and then standing toe to toe while chirping loudly in one another's face. The finches and the sparrows battle each other for control of the feeder, sneaking up on their rivals and hiding around corners, then pushing each other around in noisy confrontations that resolve nothing in the long run.

Come to think of it, maybe that's not so different from the follies of men after all.

One stupid bird trick that seemed to cross the line was the hummingbirds' attempts to get into the wild bird feeder. I don't think they even like seeds, and I doubt they'd have much success digesting them. I think they just wanted to see what all the commotion was about. Hummers must have poor eyesight, because they're always inspecting the least likely targets at close range. I've been buzzed a few times myself, when all I was doing was just standing there.

So, upon the advice of the estimable Bonnie, who knows about these things, I re-hung the hummingbird feeder today. I had to take it down last week because it had ants crawling all over it, but at Bonnie's suggestion I smeared the feeder and the line it hangs from with Vaseline. I'm sure that'll do the trick and make the hummers happy. Or happier. I think they're naturally happy.

Maybe if the evil people in the world could look out their window and see a turkey sitting on a fencepost, they wouldn't be able to keep from laughing either. Something like that could be the one thing that would make them go on with their own lives and leave everybody else alone. I'm just offering that as a possible solution; you can take it or leave it.

I only wish it had stayed there long enough this morning for me to get a photo. It was too priceless a sight to keep to myself, watching it teeter for a few anxious moments before it could figure out what it was doing up there and how to get down. Turkeys always have that expression, as if they're getting away with something.

green, ain't it?

Looking back at the house through the overgrown garden.

The most plentiful birds in the yard are the black phoebes. They're insect eaters and so not interested in what's in the feeder. No seeds for them, but they can't seem to stay away from where the action is. They tend to position themselves above the overhang where the feeder is and scan the yard from there. Every so often one will swoop down near the ground and pluck a bug out of the air.

The sparrows and finches have no problem with them. Live and let live, as long as you're not after the same food source.

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Does Vaseline lose its potency? Probably not for the way I used it, I suppose. But this jar was marked with a price sticker from Lucky Market, which went out of business at least five years ago. Three and three-quarters ounces for 56 cents. I wonder if it's gone up since then.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Crisis at the Crossroads
"That constant snacking has to stop. Besides making me all lumpy, it also leaves a trail of crumbs wherever I go. And me without a vacuum."

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