Not About Taking Out The Trash In Your Underwear
Over the years, my closest neighbors have had a lot of reasons to call the paddy wagon on me. No, I’ve not taken my trash out in my underwear either. I’m talking about my fanatical obsession with feeding, watching and interacting with my backyard “crew”. From running out my back door to shoo starlings off a feeder to taking down a squirrel log at dusk so that the local raccoon won’t make off with it. To birders, these things seem quite tame and normal. I’m not sure people who don’t share our passion would think the same thing. Let me give you a few examples of things I’ve done just in the last month which may give a non-birder cause for pause.
Staring Down Starlings
Earlier this month, I had tried to put out some of my homemade suet(not cookies, suet)for my backyard buddies when it got unusually cold. Believe it or not, I actually had a robin eating the stuff. Anyway, as usually happens, a starling found it and went to town. As most of you know, if ONE finds it, it won’t be long until the FLOCK finds it. This is exactly what happened. Within three days of careful controlled feeding, I had so much noise coming from the woods behind my yard I had to take action. What action, you say? Setting up starling-targeting turrets? Nope. Walking halfway into my backyard and simply staring up into the trees at individual birds. Believe it or not, this will work. After about ten minutes the flock flew off. No big deal right? What if your neighbor walked out in their backyard and stared at the grass for ten minutes? What would you think?
Standing Like A Statue
As I have mentioned in an earlier post about hand feeding birds, I’ve had some success finding a titmouse or two that will come to my hand and feed. How did I accomplish this? Did I walk outside and just call to one to come to me? No way. I had to go out, take every feeder down and stand like a statue near where the main feeder station is. After about twenty minutes of listening to chickadees and titmice scolding me, by shear luck I had one brave titmouse come down and grab a peanut morsel from me. Would you think I was normal standing their looking like a feeder with my arm outstretched? Maybe. Do my neighbors think it’s normal? I seriously doubt it.
Cleaning Up Around The Place
I have a gentleman and his helper who weeds my flower beds, trims my bushes, lays mulch and mows my yard. Why then would I be out sometimes twice a week to rake underneath my feeders? We birders know it’s to protect our friends the best we can from disease but what of my neighbors? They must think “this idiot does almost no yardwork EXCEPT raking under those damn feeders. what the hell is wrong with him?” I can’t say I could fault them for that observation. Could you?
More Where That Came From
Those things I just mentioned are but the tip of the iceberg. Wherever I’ve seen my backyard buddies need my help, I try to do whatever I can to be there for them. Since I’ve already decided my neighbors think I’m insane I no longer care how silly I may look doing it. Building a backyard sanctuary for my family and my backyard friends is just that important to me.
Tell Me Your Stories
Do you think your family or friends are just this close to setting up an intervention on you? Do you find yourself stopping what you’re doing in your yard and thinking “man, my neighbors must think I’m whacko”? Leave me a comment below and tell me about it. I’d feel a lot better knowing I have company and that I’m not the ONLY one who goes to such lengths.
Until next time, get those nestboxes ready for your early nesters and enjoy the paradise you’ve worked so hard to create!