Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bird Brain

Somewhere along the line I became a provider of birdseed to my local flock of birds. I have two cylindrical birdfeeders, which hang on the large lilac tree just outside my kitchen windows and keeping them filled is almost like a second job. These birds aren't kidding around, especially during the winter months, they can really put away the seed. I've found it can be quite fascinating, watching the different varieties of birds who frequent this avian snack bar. I'll call out to Jonathan, "Oh wow, there are four blue jays here now! Oops, there is a cardinal and his wife!". I can feel Jonathan's eyes rolling at my bird report. I don't even have to look at him. It's fine, I'm comfortable with being a geeky bird watcher. I even have a pair of binoculars handy so I can get a...bird's eye view. (Who came up with that phrase?) My grandparents fed birds, my parents feed birds and now I feed birds. Is bird feeding a genetic trait passed down from generation to generation? I feel like it just sort of happened and now I can't stop. If the feeders are empty for any length of time, I am burdened with overwhelming guilt. I picture the birds hanging out in a tree together complaining about what a deadbeat I am, ready to peck my eyes out Tippi Hedren style if I dare to walk outside with no seed. So, often times, clad only in my bathrobe, I will hustle outside with my bag of seed to refill the feeders, subjecting my fingers to near frostbite as the winds howl down off the hillside. My needs are secondary at that point. It's all for the birds, my birds. Selfishly that is how I think of them. "My birds". At a cocktail party the other night I told a story about "my birds". Fortunately, it was only told to one other guest, who looked at me quizzically throughout the story. He probably went home that night and said to his wife, "You know the Edel woman? She told me a story about feeding the birds. Specifically, her birds. What a whackjob." Or maybe his grandparents and parents fed birds, too and my story stirred an as yet undiscovered inherent need to feed his own group of birds. Maybe he and his wife took a trip to Agway the next day and loaded their car with fancy feeders and bags of gourmet bird seed. One can only hope. For the sake of the birds.

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