Monday, March 9, 2009

Bird Feeding Bonanza and My Man

I have been heard to say that Mr. Silly Pants belongs in the age of men in tights with buckle shoes. He's sometimes loquacious. Let's be honest, he's often loquacious. Below is something he wrote to our bird loving family about our feeding efforts gone awry. It's classic Silly Pants - I wonder if he wrote it with a feathered pen and ink well?

Clean feeders plus new suet and thistle (not to mention the addition of a novel cedar block filled with "bark butter") has yet to attract much attention from feathered friends, a fact which has been vexing me more than it probably should. All of this centers, I think, around the "mix" feeder, which I usually fill with "premium blend" from Wild Birds Unlimited; it has historically been the gross tonnage leader in bird traffic. To say it is popular among our winged residents is like saying that Wisconsinites have a small interest in dairy. I had expected that new thistle and suet plus the new bark butter feeder would become big hits once birds who came to the ever-popular "mix feeder" figured out there was tasty food for them at these alternative locations. However, the mix feeder has been unexpectedly quiet over the past two weeks, something which I have been puzzling over. This morning, I got up with Blueberry at 6:30am with great expectations (that slice of the morning usually a prime time for birds); there was no bird traffic over a 10 minute period, which caused me to shake my head repeatedly as Blueberry and I played with his noisy toys. I went to look at the mix level to see if it was lower than yesterday, hoping that birds were, perhaps, eating at unsupervised opportunities. It was then that I spied a funny looking "ball" on top of the seed. Puzzling. More puzzling yet was the fact that the ball was moving. Much to my amusement, I found a furry, fat and unbelievably contented field mouse enjoying a private dining experience inside the house-shaped feeder. I surmised it had apparently climbed up the cords I fashioned to stabilize the feeder in heavy wind. What's more, the feeder I thought was "half-full" was mainly adorned with empty sunflower shells, undoubtedly left over from a number of relaxed, happy meals for the pesky mammal. I watched him exit the feeder about 15 minutes later to make certain I knew how he was accessing the food stores; he did, in fact, use the stabilizing cords to make his getaway. I took the feeder down, cleaned out the well-masticated bird mix (plus a moderate amount of hidden mouse droppings, which would certainly affect the appetite of all but the most desperate of avian friends) then rehung the feeder with sparkling new mix and without the cords which served as a causeway to the rodent food court. The birds will just have to get used to the swaying, I guess. Once again, I'm filled with guarded anticipation.

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