My Grandmother loved watching the birds in her yard. I can remember sitting at her kitchen table and being a little bored with the whole bird thing. I was a teen aged high school know it all, but I sat with her and listened to her talk about the birds because I loved her and sometimes there was a giant banana split involved. None of the bird information ever sank in, I was probably too busy debating which was the better topping Chocolate or Caramel? So I still don't know a thing about birds.
Last summer I made this upcycled bird feeder not knowing how or if the birds would know to show up for dinner.
Well, I shouldn't have doubted bird behavior because before long bird-word spread and I was listed as one of the "must experience locations" in Wild Bird Vacation Magazine and Robins Top Rated Restaurants.
But then I discovered a flaw.
This first design was apparently top heavy and tipped over easily. The birds didn't seem to mind one bit as I would frequently see them eating straight of the ground. Apparently I had opened some more dubious hot spot than I realized where the night life got a little crazy and dinner was served as an all you can eat off the floor smorgasbord.
But I felt a little pain when I found my feeder with its head in the gravel and its butt end facing up to the sky. For several weeks I would diligently go out to the little rock garden to stand it back up after what appeared to be a night of heavy drinking but was presumably something more sinister given the fact that bird feeders don't actually drink.
A few weeks into the bird feeding it seemed that I was filling the feeder more and more frequently. I would fill it in the morning and by night fall it would be empty. How on earth did the saying "you eat like a bird" ever come to mean you don't eat very much? These creatures are ravenous pigs I think. They would eat me out of house and home if I let them. Maybe I should just stop feeding them and avoid the constant frustration of the toppled over feeder.
Then I remember that famous Alfred Hitchcock movie and conclude it might be best not to make enemies of the birds.
I have never seen more then five or six of them at the feeder at one time but still, it did appear that they might have a violent nature given the number of concussions they have inflicted on the bird feeder.
Bird seed isn't that expensive I rationalize.
I now wish I had paid more attention to my grandmothers bird stories but I am pretty sure she never covered any of the important aviary facts like how many birds it takes to punch through a pain glass window or carry off a small child.
In an effort to make amends for my momentary threat to stop feeding the birds, not to mention the disparaging pig reference, I also made this matching bird bath.
I am not exactly suggesting that the birds knew what I was thinking but given the ambiguous ending of the Hitchcock film I felt it was better to error on the side of caution.
So the late night bird brawling pigfests continued until sometime last summer when my mild case of Ornithophobia was cured and I discovered the real culprit of the toppled over bird feeder.....
and a new phobia.
What is Sciurophobia you may wonder. Well it is the fear of squirrels. To be honest I don't really have Sciurophobia exactly but just imagine the merry-go-round in your neighborhood park covered in squirrels it starts to get a little creepy doesn't it?
It helps to calm my nerves knowing that at least squirrels can't fly.
Ok......At least I have never seen more than one squirrel sparring with my bird feeder at any given time and as long as I don't see a full herd of squirrels squatting along my entire fence line or a Ninja squirrel flying around my back yard swinging one of my cats by the tail, I think I will be able to keep the onset of Sciurophobia in check.
Now let me tell you... these squirrel / bird feeder boxing matches are completely controlled by the squirrel mafia, the bird feeder never gets a jab or a right hook or left punch in at all. This is to be expected given it's no armed or elbowed physiology. Therefore it is no surprise when the match invariably ends in the squirrels indisputable victory by KO.
The current standings are something like
146 squirrel 0 bird feeder
For all of the concussive blows the bird feeder (who we will now refer to as Evander, because this is my post and my bird feeder and I feel like it) has taken, he has turned out to be quite resilient and only required a few miner trips to the ER for re-gluing.
Early this spring I decided that it was high time that Evander was given some assistance to even the playing field and make it a more fair fight. I couldn't do anything about Evanders lack of arms but I figured I could at least put an end to the knockout blows. So thinking myself rather clever I used my E6000 glue to attach Evander to a small piece of flagstone.
It seemed to work. For several days Evander stood tall and strong. I even saw an actual squirrel......
let's call him .................
If you follow boxing at all you will know where this is going. If not there is always Google.
So anyway, Mike was leaning on Evander gorging himself on what I assumed was birdseed and no knock down occurred. I was thrilled! Evander had done it! I could live phobia free! The birds would be kept happy, the squirrels would be kept happy, my cats would not have to worry about having their tails dislocated and Evander would stop falling on his head. All was right in the small world of the rock garden bird/squirrel sanctuary.
But I should have know not to mess with mob.
I was devastated although, as his name would suggest, Evander got the worst of it.
This repair requires more than just a little glue. And as any crafter knows when a project has serious hemorrhaging and needs some strong adhering the only answer is Duct Tape.
It isn't pretty but I feel certain that even though I have discovered that squirrels will eat plastic they surely don't have a taste for Duct Tape.
It turns out I don't know anything about squirrels either.
Apparently it actually makes them more aggressive.
Now completely defeated, with Evander in critical condition, the mob squirrels madder than ever and the birds plotting god knows what. I must face the fact that Evander is ready for retirement. (And by retirement I mean a respectful depositing into the rubbish bin)
But I feel anxious about the currant state of affairs. I received this in the mail the other day. Maybe I am getting a little paranoid but it seems like a veiled threat.
I felt an urgent need not miss too many feedings so I have come up with what I hope is a chew proof bird feeder.
Does anyone know if squirrels like to eat solder or tinplate?
For now we all seem to be living in an uneasy armistice.
PS - Lest you think I have a real animosity toward squirrels you should note that I once had a full on sobbing meltdown regarding two baby squirrels that had fallen out of their nest. The result of which, was the hubby driving me and the afore mentioned squirrels for an hour to a wild life hospital.
A lovely bird related qoute.
"Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."