This is the year I’m going to revamp my bird feeding station. Living right on the lake is wonderful, but the winds, spray and splashover can present a challenge to having birdfeeders in my backyard. People ask me why I don’t put the feeders at the front of my house, where they would at least have a bit of shelter. The answer is simple: my office is in the back, so is easier for me to see the birds. This isn’t just selfishness on my part; it’s also easy for me to keep an eye on things. Since I am writing full time at the computer, I can easily spot the occasional cat on the prowl. Plus there’s a crank-down awning, as well as a place to anchor my vertical strips of yellow “crime scene tape,” both of which deter birds from hitting the windows. Beyond those precautions, I’m also making some changes with the type of feeders themselves.
I’m replacing my tube/platform combo with a couple of free-hanging tubes and a hopper feeder. Platform feeders are great because they allow for easy viewing of bird species that use them, but they can pose a threat to birds, too. Some birds, like chickadees and nuthatches, will take a single seed and fly to a second location to eat it. Others, like the finches and grosbeaks, just wade into the exposed seed, sit and eat. And defecate. Any feeder naturally concentrates a lot of birds in one feeding place, and thus potentially helps spread diseases, but a platform feeder is just that much more risky. Platform feeders also spill a lot of seed on the ground, which attract numerous brown-headed cowbirds. I like cowbirds, but they are brood parasites on many small songbirds, so I’d just as soon not give them a helping hand.
There are those who say we shouldn't feed wild birds at all. I see their point, and one year I decided to stop - but then I thought about that pair of cardinals in the snow and I was hooked again!
Well, that’s my plan, and as we move into September, I better get cracking!
Photo of the back of my house. The awning was up at the time, but you can see the yellow tape fluttering away. On windless days I lower the awning a bit to shade the glass. A bird does occasionally hit the window, and can get its bell rung pretty good, but at least it's not a fatality. I go out and move them to a bush til they recover. Photo of male Cardinal from Shutterstock
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.