Bird feeders are for the birds |

Bird feeders are for the birds

I keep seeing birds and animals not listed in my Sierra Nevada Natural History book. Obviously, these undocumented alien birds and animals haven’t read it, like, for instance, the illiterate, but voracious metal-eating squirrel.

The Queen of the Pumps, as she is known at a local Tahoe City gas station, was always singing the praises of her bird feeder which, for some reason, she wasn’t using anymore. She asked me if I wanted it, several times. In my sincere desire for peace and universal beauty, I expressed an interest. She seemed so incredibly nice. But her captivating charm trapped me on a collision course with the potentially deadly, metal-eating squirrel.

I love wildlife. I have experienced sightings of some very beautiful creatures of all sizes, just short of wolverines and Big Foot, in the Sierra Nevada and around Tahoe. You see humans around here once in awhile too. They’re more numerous than blue jays and squirrels, but similar in behavior. They are large and easy to view, but their overwhelming numbers and superior survival skills seem to have made them rather common and ordinary. They have become less and less of an attraction. Nobody even stops to get out of the car to photograph or feed them anymore.

More interesting bird and animal sightings increase as you go deeper into the wilderness. There you will see Paradise; flora and fauna of every different color and size in the air, on land and in the water. Or you can just stay home and watch a new car or pharmaceutical commercial and get the same effect.

Days went by. I didn’t think anything at all about bird feeders, until I saw one just under my fence by the gate. This had to be the Queen’s work. At first it looked like it could be a poison apple, but you can’t fool me. I could see it was nothing but a harmless bird feeder.

Greedily, I picked it up. A plain, wooden bird feeder. There was nothing fancy about it at all. No paint, no windows, no flowers, no decorations of any kind, just a clear plastic trough big enough for about a pound or two of the kind of magic bird seed that was guaranteed to attract the most beautiful, colorful, most rare birds imaginable. Everything but parrots. It said so right on the bag. It was the only bird seed I could find.

Although I was upright, I was in a deep trance. I bought 25 pounds of bird seed. I wanted more. You know. I had to consume. I couldn’t survive if I didn’t consume everything! It was the curse of the Queen of the Pumps.

Hanging the bird feeder became an obsession. I thought about it for days. I felt guilty. Birds were going hungry. I grabbed my rope and went outside. Never pick up a rope when you don’t think you are under the spell of The Queen of the Pumps.

After about ten tries, and nearly knocking myself unconscious with the large carabineer on the end of the rope, I tossed it about twenty feet, straight up over a pine branch above my deck, exactly on the right side of the secondary branch I was aiming for. The rope was right where I wanted it, but it went over the other side only about 15 inches and stopped. I cast little waves of the rope skyward, like the expert fly fisherman I am not. Gradually, the end of the rope became heavier and slid down like magic, landing plumb center over the deck railing. I could open the lid and replace bird seed with ease and spend the rest of my life seeing birds. Rare, colorful birds. A whole new world was about to open up to me. Life was looking peachy.

Now, all I see are thousands of blue jays and blackbirds, my deck is covered with bird you know what and the metal-eating squirrel smelled my store of magical bird seed, chewed through the window screen and the door screen, came inside, ate all my bird seed, grew ten feet and fangs and now it’s after me. Help!

Anybody want a bird feeder?

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