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Saturday, November 19, 2011

MY FRIENDS THE BIRDS

     snowbird



Indian Summer has come and gone. Winter has spoken. Below freezing last night, below freezing tonight. Wind today to make wind chimes ting and birds flying in a bee line to the feeder, picking up a seed and flying away in a bee line. It looks like they're storing seeds. I heard somebody talking about birds say a chickadee can remember over a hundred hiding places where they store seeds for the winter. He said on a ten hour night in cold winter, a chickadee has such a high rate of metabolism that it can die in the night if it doesn't get enough to eat during the day. We always have nights like that in the winter. Snow on the ground makes it worse for the birds. I'll keep my bird friends well fed that live near here through this winter. Before, with cats, I discouraged the birds coming around. Now it's a new treat to have birds, watch their behavior. I go out the door and they fly in all directions. The brave ones fly to branches just above the feeder. A titmouse makes its clicking sound at me. A chickadee makes a clicking telling the giant to go away. They're super cautious, hyper aware of every movement all the way around them. They're quick as a cat at reacting to a new sound.



I open the door and it looks like a slow motion video of shrapnel flying out from an exploding hand grenade when the birds fly off in every direction, a silent explosion. Flying birds ascending to the upper branches of the trees, on the edge of the open sky where they know for certain they're safe, unless a hawk comes along. I walk my path to the car listening to the birds above make clicking noises at me. I mostly think they're annoyed with me for scaring them. But I also wonder if they're saying Thank You in bird talk. They all know I put the seeds in the feeders. I put the seeds in every morning and throw some on the ground. They fly to tree limbs in all directions and watch me go to the feeder. Before the giant that lives in the house went to the feeder, it was nearly empty. After the giant went back inside the house, the feeder had an abundance of the kinds of seed they all like, small black sunflower seeds. Small woodpeckers dive in for a few seeds.



The warblers rule the feeder, the reason I throw some on the ground. The smaller and slower birds, like snowbirds, titmice, the cardinal pair, especially doves like to stay away from those darting warblers with a spear for a beak. They move so fast walking, pecking, climbing, flying, and they dart when they fly, they make the doves a nervous wreck. Before the warblers discovered the feeder, the doves were regulars. I throw seed on the ground for the doves now. I'm afraid something might have got the towhee. It's a calico thrush with a nice taWeet for its call. They are awfully vulnerable as they like to scratch in the dry leaves on the ground. Caterpillar didn't get it. With no cat marking territory now a rambling cat might have passed through here and found the towhee. We have feral cats all over the mountain. Haven't seen it in several weeks. The ancestry of the Air Bellows and Whitehead feral cats and the pets go back to one calico Maine Coon, who was the great great great great grandmother of my cats. A black cat down in Whitehead was TarBaby's daddy. I hated it when I saw him dead, a roadkill on hwy 18. Highways are rough on cats.



I'm a bit torn about spoiling them to reproduce more as they have far more to eat than their territory can furnish otherwise, so when I croak, I leave an overpopulated area of spoiled birds without their food source suddenly and they all die the following winter during a month of snow on the ground and temperatures below zero at night. My doing. However, that's a worst case scenario, and events never come to pass nearly as disastrously as imagined. They'll get by and if they don't, well a lot of other birds don't make it too. I can't help that any more than I can stop road kill. It's beyond my reach. So I feed the birds and watch them out the window. I learned the joy of watching birds at Jr's house where we spent long stretches of time watching the hummingbirds at the feeder outside the window, and the crows on the lawn where I threw them apple slices, and the raincrow that lived in what I think was a blue spruce that was planted for possibly an outdoor Christmas tree to put lights on for his last wife. It was maybe 12 feet tall. The raincrow liked to stand on the tip top of it and look all around. A crow come around and he'd dive-bomb the crow and peck a feather out of his back.



I know the s'posed-to of conscious ecological thinking. But I'm not that, so why should I limit my decisions to that mind? That thinking is for the people that think that way. I'm not one of them, so I'll do my birdfeeders my way. I'll do like Sid Vicious who took Frank Sinatra's song My Way, destroyed it by singing it as bad as it could be done, and made it his own. I'll do it MY WAY. And there is Nina Hagen, who took it from Sid Vicious and made it her own. "She's the mother of punk, so what the funk?" I'm a rebel. I won't do bird feeders like I'm supposed to if I want to be an ecologically conscious certified cool dude. I'm self-centered about it because I like to watch the birds flying about and pecking on the ground. They're in continuous motion. It's like watching basketball on tv without the noise of the announcers.



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