Friday, December 17, 2010

Lessons from a Seagull

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The new feeder is nearly empty and the suet balls are swaying in the wind. I am taking this in from the comparative safety of my kitchen window through wind blown snow or hail. I know I will have to refill the feeder and just hope to catch a bit of a break in the weather in which to do that. I sip my coffee and watch the birds teetering on branches or trying to synchronize their movements with the wind to catch the suet ball like catching the brass ring on a merry go round.

Before I realize it I have hatched an improvised feeding strategy. I take the opened bag of seed and cast it on the wind swept ground where the snow has been mostly cleared. I cast it by the hopeful shelter created by the straw bale and then duck back inside. Even that brief foray has chilled me nearly to the bone, but it works. Soon there is a cluster of birds getting at the seeds--with luck the snow/rain sleet won't bury them before they are eaten.

I talked yesterday with a friend in the States whose yard has won an award for habitat creation. It reminded me both how important it is and how even a little bit of effort can make a big difference. In time I'd like to make more habitat for a variety of creatures. We talked about what we might do together when she comes to visit. I look forward to that, but in the meantime, I took last year's feeders out of the sink in the garage where they had been soaking yet again to remove the last bit of old seed that has so far eluded me. I know that birds are susceptible to diseases from old food. But I give it one more try with the help of BirdSafe--something from the garden shop. They're drying now and I'll load them up and have them ready to go for the evening run on the mini-habitat.

I just got a phone call from another snowed-in neighbour. We were going to go out for dinner tonight--now we are hoping against hope that we'll make it out for tomorrow's Stitch n Blether--our monthly knitting get together. I told her about my bird feeding and she tops that--she tells me about making a cake for the birds--seeds and fat and flour and all things likely to be tasty to them. She used the microwave. But she has a friend who makes girdle (if you are American, read that as griddle--not a typo just one of those funny Brit things) cakes for her birds. She gets the fat that they so desperately need and seeds and I don't know what all and makes it into a proper cake that she can slice and share out with the birds. Apparently this is such a treat, that one particular cheeky gull will come and peck on the window if she is late in delivering it.

I had suspected it before, now I am certain. There is a birdy blog in which they are lamenting how slow we are to train but with their help we are making a better habitat for ourselves.


At 1:47 AM, Blogger Amy said...

That last thought would make a good Far Side cartoon. They often have animals doing activities that we humans think only we do, like having cocktail parties or poetry readings.


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