The Bird Feeder

When I bought a bird feeder a while back I also purchased a two or three pound bag of seed. It lasted a few days. I went back to Wal Mart and came home with a ten pound bag. It didn't last long either. So the other day I came home with a forty pound bag. I'm not certain what amazes me more, the astounding ability of these little creatures to consume one hundred percent of their body weight in very short order, or the impressive economies of scale involved in buying bird food. I don't remember the exact prices of the varying bags of bird food, but the differences are wildly out of proportion to the sizes. $5.99 for 10 pounds and $7.99 for forty pounds (!), something along those lines.

We have been getting great enjoyment from observing these birds just outside the window. And also receiving the occasional fright when one turns from the feeder and flies right into the window. Bang! It's happening with some regularity, but they don't seem to be hurt by it. We've all seen photos of summer tourists feeding the bears in parks, that's a standard image of our popular culture. And for a long time now we've been thinking, oh how stupid we were, how ignorantly intrusive on the ways of nature! So why is it ok to feed the birds? Is it ok? In any case, I have very quickly incorporated the newly enlarged bird population into my sense of "garden aesthetics." They help define the spaces at and above eye level in ways I would not have imagined just a short time ago. Their colorings, mainly grays and browns, are subtly pleasant. The occasional cardinal adds a welcome touch of airborne red, which is otherwise only to be observed in the geraniums. And their songs! Most are, in fact, uninteresting musically (chirp, chirp, chirp...), but now and then you catch a gem. At his very moment I'm seeing a little bird perched right at the pinnacle of a little tree (oh, to not even know the names of the plants in my garden!) and, oh, a squirrel just leaped from the Japanese maple onto the roof, oh my, it's a ballet!

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