I’ve become the proprietor of an avian cheeseburger shack. We are so popular with the birds that I now trudge out every morning in my pajamas to make sure there is birdseed for breakfast. Heavy on the sunflower seeds, light on the thistle. We feed blue ones, red ones, black ones, brown ones, some spotted ones with red heads, and some bright yellow ones that are very little. I guess it’s obvious that I’m not too knowledgeable about birds. I am a city girl with a city girl’s appreciation of pigeons in the winter and gulls in the summer.
My Aunt Margie was a fanatic birder. She would go out birding with her binoculars and baggy shorts and wait for some precious specie to waft by. She kept a life list of every bird she had seen. She could trill bird calls if you asked and didn’t snicker. Her house was filled with Audubon prints, clocks that sounded bird calls on the hour and in her yard, a custom-made bird dream house with specs written for some kind of bird. I forget which kind of bird. Privately, we thought she was nuts.
Our own bird obsession started with the woodpecker last summer. Late summer, we started to hear a sharp tap-tap-tapping near the back of our house. Originally, I thought it was a plumbing racket. Or maybe a branch banging remarkably consistently in the wind. But every time I went out to investigate, the noise magically stopped. Just a bird flying away. It took a week for us to connect the dots between the ever-widening hole in the shingle and the bird in the nearby tree.
I went in to my husband. “I think we have Woody Woodpecker.” He reminded me that Woody was a cartoon and made the famous sound of the cartoon from our childhood. Hard to render into syllables, but “Eh-eh-eh-Uh-Oh!” I dragged him outside to see the evidence. We found a moldy copy of Birds of the Northeast clearly identifying the culprit. The next day, a handyman put a metal patch over the hole. Problem solved. The next week the woodpecker migrated (was there only one?) to the other side of the house. Another metal plate. I was starting to worry that our house would morph, from a clapboard farmhouse into an aluminum box, in one-foot-square increments.
My exhaustive research consisted of googling the catchy query, “What to do about woodpeckers?” and it yielded a few solutions. One: move. There are more birds than you. Two: get a birdfeeder and fill it with suet. What the heck. If you can’t beat ’em, feed ’em. It worked! Our woodpeckers invited their suet loving friends over for lunch and stopped snacking on our house. We started to like the birds. So many varieties! All day long, singing and chirping. We bought a new bird book and binoculars.
This year, when the frost was still on the morning grass, we got a second bird feeder. One you fill with seed not suet. I bought a big bag of birdseed at the grocery store and poured it in. The birds flocked, excited to locate our free buffet. The first bag lasted a month while the birds were flying back from Florida. Now, we think Yelp for Birds must have given us a very favorable review. At the hardware store, I was flabbergasted by the whole aisle of bird seed, like the cereal aisle at the Stop & Shop. Too many choices.
The guy with the white beard and nice smile asked me an existential question: “What kind of birds do you want?” I had no idea. “The pretty ones,” I answered. He looked at me indulgently, the way he might if I asked for a wrench with a pink handle but couldn’t tell him whether it was an Allen or a whatever. He tapped on a huge bag. “The ‘pretty ones’ like this. They like sunflower seeds. And mix it with this bag of thistle seed too.” For good measure, I bought a red glass hummingbird feeder and hummingbird food too. In for a cardinal, in for a humming bird. Humming birds are attracted by red, my new sage informed me.
He was so right. We became bird heaven by the end of the first day. A fly-in food truck for the Cohasset flock. The J-J’s of the feathered set. Full of seed in the morning, crumbs by evening. I was feeling good. Virtuous even. Then I had lunch with my lovely cousin Marianne, daughter of my Aunt Margie, the birder. “You shouldn’t feed birds in the Spring and Summer, you know”, she said. “They need to forage.” Crestfallen! My little good deed upsetting the organic balance of nature! And then I decided, screw that. Turns out I like operating a cheeseburger stand for birds. I get to see all the pretty ones.
About Pigeon Patrol:
Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.
Voted Best Canadian wholesaler for Bird Deterrent products four years in a row.
Contact Info: 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD (www.pigeonpatrol.ca)