Check the birdfeeders


(This is going to be one of those essays. No. Really. Not kidding. Kind of sappy. Get back what you put out. One of those. Advance notice issued… let’s move along…)

Terry and I have a few birdfeeders in the backyard.

It’s seasonal though. There’s more to come. We’re still finishing up the winter months. Several things are in the garage waiting. Hummingbird feeders for example.

In general, they’re pretty cool. We’ve been able to attract a huge variety of birds to our feeders over the past handful of summers. Actually, we get them throughout the year. (And a few chipmunks and squirrels. Other stories. Other times.)

The weird thing about them though is those winter months. That’s when things get rough. Especially in the days following a major snowstorm. It is absolutely no fun trekking out into the yard, 40-pound bag of seed in one hand and a suet cake or two in the other, when the thermometer is registering single-digits and the ground is blanketed by more than a foot of snow.

But… no food… no birds.

Over the course of time, Terry and I have faced a few challenges in keeping the feeders stocked. Getting the squirrels to stay on the ground… enduring the arrivals of flocks that take over the yard… avoiding the bees that are attracted to sugar water… and so on. Bird seed doesn’t have to be expensive, but it also isn’t free. You get the idea. It’s an investment. Time, effort, money.

There is a return on investment. Watching woodpeckers… cardinals… hummingbirds… goldfinches… blue jays… robins… bluebirds… arrive and even return. It is amazing and relaxing.

Still… the winters are the worst.

Right off the bat, the variety isn’t the same. And, you can’t count on the numbers being as high, so looking out the window doesn’t result in a treat as regularly as it does in the summer months.

I’m starting to finalize plans for changes around the yard. As the weather improves, I’ll be adding a garden. And, we’ve been kicking around a real attempt at some fruit options, like blueberries and strawberries. And again, then there’s the birds.

Part of the yard redesign will involve moving some of the feeders and likely a few birdhouses as well. (I’m also not a fan of making blueberries available to large numbers of birds that gather and stay around the house… you can figure out why easily enough.)

The thing is… I am thinking about the birds. I do believe they benefit from having me around. And, I know I benefit from them. The more I put into our unspoken relationship, the more I tend to get back. When I ignore it, and let it lapse—regardless of the reasons why—we tend to lose contact.

And so, for now, I do need to head out into the yard and take care of the feeders. There’s still some snow on the ground, so it won’t be a simple chore. But it will be worth it in the end.

(I promised sappy. It’s in there. Thanks for sticking with it, and thanks for investing in me.)


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