I have a problem. Well, if truth be known I may have more than one, but there is a particular one I wish to address: My birds have all gone away; flown the coop; taken their feathers and buggered off.
Why is that?
For years I have put out feeders in the winter and my motivations are twofold therein. I like to see that the birds are getting what they need in inclement weather and especially when their natural fodder is covered by snow. My second motivation is I like seeing them. I like looking for rare ones like the Lazuli Bunting we spied one year.
Now, this year started with great enthusiasm on the part of my avian friends and I could virtually hear them saying: “Yay, Ian’s finally got his bloody feeders out. About damn time!” Actually, they were more profane than that, but they said it in bird-talk so nobody was offended. Anyway, as it was I was regularly having to re-fill. They were all there: juncos, chickadees, wrens, goddamn starlings, towhees and all the usal suspects. It was ‘partay’ time for them all once again.
But then, about two weeks ago, they stopped coming around, and that was just after I had purchased a 14-ton sack of seed from Costco. They just stopped. Periodically one would happen by but I felt like a guy who had mounted a party only to have nobody show up. I waited and waited. I took the feeders and dumped the unused grains out and cleaned them thoroughly. I thought that maybe, since it was cold, they wanted suet, so I got suet squares and filled the little basket. Nada!
The area around the feeders remains as barren as a nun’s date-book. I don’t know why. We don’t have a cat and, because we have Max, neighbor cats don’t hang out in our yard. There is a small woodlot next door and it boasts owls, and hawks, and raccoons, but it always has been there aloing with its predatory inhabitants, yet it hasn’t posed a problem in other years.
As it stands, I have always been able to attract birds – of the feathered sort, I won’t get into commenting on the other sort – and now I am feeling shunned. I know it’s silly to personalize this but, you know, it hurts.