I’ve created a monster, but I’ve learned my lesson.
I only wanted to attract a few sapsuckers, gossamer-winged whatitsnames, some cardinals or popes, and a few chirping chit-chats. Maybe a hungry humdinger would also stop by.
I figured I could do it with a simple danged bird feeder.
But once I got it all in place and started feeding operations, everything went kaploooy.
I muscled a 4×4 post in a hole about four feet deep to give the feeder strength in the event my backyard happened to be in an ancient flyway and a gaggle of pokey pterodactyls dropped by.
I bought two nice bird feeders made of plastic and designed to look like Chinese pagodas.
Birdseed was next. I bought $50 of sunflower seeds in a fifty-pound bag and some sacks of shiny, glistening black thistle seed.
I thought the sunflower seeds would last me a month, and the first batch would help me figure out how much I needed for the entire year. The weed seed from India was thrown in as a sort of bird dessert.
I couldn’t believe the price of that stuff. They should figure out how to embed it in jewelry, for cripes sake.
I loaded this all up in my pagodas with their six little windows and perches engineered for little, comma-sized bird feet. Within an hour my feeder had been discovered. Sparrows were flittering in to enjoy thistle and sunflower seed.
Word got around in the world of backyard critters, too. It wasn’t long before squirrels were shinnying the 4×4 and bellying up to my plastic pagodas.
They are voracious, and they couldn’t get enough to eat through the windows, so they used their sharp teeth to enlarge them until the seed spilled out in great profusion.
So to protect my now-remodeled pagodas I figured I’d suck up to those blasted squirrels. I bought a squirrel feeder for them. It was a little table with a nail in the middle on which to impale an ear of corn, and it had a little wooden chair for the squirrel to sit on while eating.
I also bought a six and one-half pound bag of corn on the cob that enterprising farmers in Clinton, Iowa, sell to city suckers like me for an arm and a leg.
The squirrels went through two ears of corn a day. (They stand up while eating, incidentally.)
Interestingly, they ate only the root end of each kernel, leaving a U-shaped bit of corn piling up in my grass, which had taken on a patina that looked much like the bottom of an unattended bird cage.
While the picky squirrels were spitting out most of the kernels, some ugly looking birds of prey had discovered the feast below the squirrels’ banquet table.
I’m pretty sure mountain lions got the scent of the rabbits that had discovered the mother lode of corn. I believe I even saw an emaciated pterodactyl feeding out there. That did it.
I had a yard sale.
The squirrel table and chair set went to the landfill. A friend said he’d take the 4×4 post if I dug it up. The corn was gone.
And no one has even noticed the black thistle weed seeds from India that we’ve been mixing in with servings of wild rice whenever we have company over for dinner.
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