Cat TV, or, Who Said Pigs Don’t Fly?

Last year after much hemming and hawing, we purchased a bird feeder. (We are slow roasts, as I may have explained before. Rather ent-like in that way, we rarely do anything hasty.) This spring I decided it would look cool in the front yard, so that’s where I put it. A neighbor informed us that bird feeders aren’t allowed in the front yard, as per our neighborhood covenants. *sigh* I looked up the statute in question, and the feeders are not prohibited, but a resident is supposed to obtain approval from the HOA before installing one.

Operating on the premise that forgiveness is easier than permission, I have left it there. It’s out of seed anyway, because the last bag John bought, “Finch Supreme” (it’s kind of like a caramel pecan hot fudge sundae, only for birds, and healthier) was not non-germinating. Meaning, I have a bunch’o little green sproutlings in the rocks under the feeder. Another neighbor told me not to use weed-b-gon on the sproutlings because of the birds. The birds who liked this feeder best was a family of house finches that live, well, in our house. Or at least a little hole in the eaves or where the fascia board meets the brick…bascially in a little corner. Please pardon my shameful lack of construction vocabulary.

One reason I wanted to hang the feeder in the front is because I understand that the life of an indoor cat affords precious few opportunities for entertainment. At its current location, Gloria is able to sit in the front window and keep all manner of watches on the comings and goings of finches and sparrows. (Side note: a sparrow is not a chickadee. You don’t have to get yourself locked out of your house with your field guide to birds because your son was fooling around with the door lock while you investigated and then had to use a neighbor’s phone to call your husband to take an hour off work to come and unlock the stupid door. You likely don’t have chickadees, because they make too pretty of a sound, and you’d recognize it. Sparrows are cute too, though, and I am proud of you for not even losing your cool one bit at being locked out).

Now, however, the front feeder hangs empty and the cat has resumed her summer nap rerun schedule.

But! For my birthday, one of my clever friends gave me another feeder, and a bag of black oil sunflower seeds! This feeder is very cool, it looks like a lantern. We hung it in the back tree. I was concerned about squirrels, but I haven’t seen many of them lately (plague? it’s going around, you know). Apparently black oil sunflower is like a steak dinner followed by a caramel pecan hot fudge sundae, and you don’t even have to do the dishes. This bag does not say “non germinating” either, but I don’t care. The grass in the back yard is so poor, and it’s in a shady spot to boot, that I don’t think anything could grow in it. Plus, from the looks of it, there won’t be any seeds left to germinate. I have been finding shells all over the place.

We hung it up on Friday, and refilled it Monday night, and already it’s empty again. Our neighbors also have several feeders.

Who said pigs don’t fly?

It’s interesting, though. There is a definite pecking order here. Grackles are punks, both at the feeder and the birdbath. They try to scare all the smaller birds away. The doves, finches, sparrows and starlings all share pretty well. Worst of all is the downy woodpecker. He will even squawk at the grackle. Today he hogged the feeder while about twenty other birds were on the ground pulling up the seeds. We haven’t seen the robins lately, not sure where they went. It’s too bad, because I like Mr. Robin. He is cool with just the right amount of attitude. I speculate that because their nest got blown out of the tree in earlier storms (twice!) they may have had to relocate.

As I type this, a grackle is out there squawking at the empty feeder. Worse than a toddler at snack time.

And no, I am not concerned about wood peckers. I have a secret hope they or the squirrels will kill the big tree, so we’ll have to remove it, and will get more sunlight for the garden, and can plant a cherry tree or chokecherry bush or something better than a stupid water sucking, shoot sending, aphid attracting cottonwood.

It’s a tough call, though, because where would I hang the feeder if the cottonwood were gone? I’m sure not willing to share cherries or elderberries with the avian crowd. I can buy sour cherries but for the price of some seeds you can have cheap Cat TV. No long term contracts, no satellite required.

Who said pigs don

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