Thursday, December 17, 2015

For the birds

I'm beginning to learn more about the pros and cons of bird feeder design and construction than I ever anticipated. Last Christmas I got the feeder on the right, the copper one with the screen tube. Nuthatches have shown a preference for it, as have the woodpeckers. The top is held down by the kind of push-button latch found on some boot lacings. It works fine except when we had those really strong winds several weeks ago. They vibrated the top up and down so much that it turned sideways, like a sail, and carried the mostly empty feeder across the deck.

the copper-topped, wind-blown feeder in the snow
the copper-topped, wind-blown feeder in the snow
Photo by J. Harrington

The open tray feeder on the left fills with snow, as you may imagine. This Winter I replaced it (and the tube feeder the bear ate two years ago) with a new style. I couldn't quite bring myself to spend $100 or so on a Droll Yankee model (remember the feeder-eating bear?) so I thought a less expensive "knock-off" would do. It got filled and hung last Sunday. Notice what appears to be the tight-fitting green top? It was a slight challenge for me to remove to fill the tube the first time.

the oft decapitated tube feeder
the oft decapitated tube feeder
Photo by J. Harrington

Well, twice since Sunday I've found that top on the ground under the feeder. The first time there were no clues as to what had happened, although I suspected maybe a neighborhood raccoon. This morning I noticed the top on the ground again, but this time I also noticed a pair of red squirrels taking advantage of the missing top. Now I'm trying to sort out if the squirrels are the culprits that actually "decapitate" the feeder. That would seem to fit with living in a neighborhood where the mice, or something, are sneaky enough to eat peanut butter from the traps without getting caught. If the local rodents(?) get much more creative, we may have to consider a "barn cat." The squirrels have already figured out the border collie is not fast and smart enough to catch them, so they just run away, climb a tree and blow raspberries while the dog barks maniacally. The intended, and unintended, users of bird feeders are some of the more entertaining, but bemusing, aspects of country living.

Two Stones with One Bird

By Charles Bernstein 


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