If you have read this blog with any regularity over the last couple of years, and I can’t imagine anyone not, you will be familiar with my relationships with several members of the local urban wildlife. You will also recall my failed efforts to attract hummingbirds to a feeder as well my offer of accommodation in my terrarium/B&B to cicadas visiting town that resulted in nary a booking. But I think I’ve finally done it.
Giving the hummingbird feeder a pass this summer I have installed in its stead a simple seed bell. In fact I’m now on my third such bell as they are proving to be a real hit with the myriad little birds in the neighbourhood. Sparrows for the most part, with an occasional finch or chickadee, are going through the bells like there’s no tomorrow. Just observing them has provided me with much amusement.
I’ve noticed how these little guys seem to be in a constant state of high anxiety; heads darting in all directions as they nip off a seed or two. If I ate under those conditions I’d have wicked indigestion. I wonder if I should put out a few crushed Tums.
Then yesterday while quietly watching a little fellow peck away at the seed bell I was surprised when he turned to me and said “What. Can I help you? How’d you like me to stare at you while you’re eating?”.
“You can speak?”
These urban beasts never cease to amaze me with their advanced communication skills, and snarkiness.
“Well, um, how’s the seed bell?” I asked awkwardly.
“Better than the one last week. It was stale. You really shouldn’t buy them at the Dollar Store. Admit it, would you eat food from there? Wrapping paper and greeting cards are all you should buy there. Maybe ramen noodles”
I’ve had several conversations with bugs and birds alike, but it always takes me a minute or two to get used to it.
“How about some worms?” I offered.
“Nope. They’re for early birds, not me.”
He had me with that as we were chatting mid-morning. “Wow, you guys are well organized, categorized, you could almost say …”
“You just had to say that didn’t you.” he moaned.
“Okay,” I said. “Then can you suggest a pet store where I might find a better quality seed bell?”
“Do I look like a pet?” he snapped.
Becoming a bit perturbed by this insolent bird I asked “What exactly is your problem?”
“Look at the size of me,” he said. “I live in a world of pigeons, crows, seagulls, the odd hawk and even an owl or two. You’d be cranky too if you had to be constantly looking over your shoulder.”
“Birds don’t have shoulders.” I said.
“Leave the snippy stuff to me, it doesn’t become you.”
I started to answer him when I noticed he had gone. But I think I’ll be seeing more of him this summer as some time later with a light rain falling I looked out and noticed a Post It sticky on the outside of my window. It said, Not good in the rain, do you deliver? I feel it only fair to mention that the writing was very elegant, slanted a little. Certainly not chicken scratch.