Sometimes it’s just the simple things. I hung some bird feeders today. They’ve been sitting in my garage for probably three weeks, along with a fancy pole and hook system to hang them from. I treated myself to this system after Mothers’ Day when, despite my obvious hints, I did not get one from anyone in my family. We’ve had buckets of rain in the last few days, so while the ground was soft I decided to tackle getting the fancy pole into the ground out near The Little Woods.
Sadly, I’ve neglected my woods in the last few weeks. As I mentioned, after almost a month of no rain, it’s been stormy and soggy. Add to that the usual family responsibilities and I just haven’t been able to get back to picking up sticks and dreaming up my master plan. To his credit, my sweet hubby spent some time out there pulling weeds while I was off on my girls’ trip. But it’s still a long way from the lovely shade garden I have in mind.
All along part of my plan was to have bird feeders and birdhouses in The Little Woods. I’ve had feeders at our other homes but it’s been a few years. In our old farmhouse we had at least 5698 squirrels running over our three acres and it was just a losing battle. Did you know a squirrel can live up to 12 years in the wild?! Seriously?! And at the rate they multiply it’s no wonder they can become such a nuisance. I came across this fact when researching ways to get them out of the attic. They are destructive little beasts and will drive you mad scritch-scratching while they gnaw gaping holes in your roof and siding. Just writing this makes my blood pressure go up. Needless to say, they can eat all the birdseed and chew up a feeder in record time.
That is until I discovered my local Wild Birds Unlimited store, a lovely little place full of all manner of feeders, plain and sophisticated, and every form of seed and suet a bird could desire. They sale this special system that actually screws 16 inches into the ground, along with unique baffles to stop the dreaded furry rodents, intent on wrecking havoc, from shimmying up the pole. BUT, the real key to squirrel defeat is actually much more simple. As it turns out a squirrel can jump straight up only about 4 feet, thus the need for the baffle at the correct height so they can’t jump over them. They can also leap approximately 10 feet from tree to feeder, so if you place your feeders the correct distance from any source of leaping, in theory you should be able to thwart the little monsters. We shall see….
My parents have been devoted bird lovers for many years. Outside their sunroom at the Texas house they had countless feeders and houses and bird baths. Every morning my daddy had a routine that included filling the feeders, throwing some crushed saltines out for the blue jays, and making sure the hummingbirds had fresh sugar water. They adored attracting bluebirds and had several years of noisy hatchlings in their bluebird boxes. My parents lived in the country and Daddy had a more permanent way of dispensing with squirrels. He kept a B.B. gun by the back door and made quick work of it. This was after he tried trapping them and hauling them off to the other side of the bayou. He swore they beat him home.
When they relocated to North Carolina after Hurricane Harvey one of their first purchases was from Wild Birds Unlimited. Mother and Daddy have created a lovely new bird sanctuary right out their dining room window. Daddy can no longer work in the yard but he takes great joy in keeping the feeders. When I visit them it is so peaceful and entertaining to just sit and watch the birds. We always have to discuss what kinds of birds have visited their feeders and which seed they like best. Plus, it makes gift-giving pretty easy….anything “bird”.
I guess I’m looking to recreate this same simple pleasure in my own backyard. It must be in my genetics or something. I want to drink my coffee in the morning, or glass of wine in the evening, and let the birds entertain me. I want to create a haven in The Little Woods. I want the little yellow finches and the bluebirds, the bright red cardinals and the mockingbirds, the noisy woodpeckers and the cooing doves. I want them to tell their friends that our backyard is a pretty awesome place to be. And something must be working because we had 5 yellow finches and some bluebirds within an hour of hanging the feeders. As they say, build it and they will come.