Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Our bird feeder is an improvised one: a flour sieve dangles from a string knotted around a hook on the back lip of the house, and we keep that spilling over with seeds of all kinds.
The smaller birds flutter up to the sieve, wrap their gnarly little feet around the edge, and dip in excitedly. I've seen them hop right into the middle of the sieve, too, and stand up to their bird-knees in food.
All the while the feeder swings- side to side and sometimes a 360 degree spin while the birds nibble deliriously at the loot.
It can reasonably hold one bird at a time, but two have occasionally been seen to share the small space.
The rest of the time, they line up on nearby branches, waiting their turn.
Once, while I watched, one small fellow got impatient and made an attempt to land while the feeder was occupied.
No way, said the first bird, and scared the intruder off with what might have passed for a glare in birdland.
The fellow was determined, however, and he made another- equally failed- attempt to get onto the feeder.
The third time, he devised a plan, and it couldn't fail.
He moved on to the gutter just above the hook which held the feeder.
He then hopped onto the very top of the string and, sometimes claw over claw, sometimes sliding, he inched his way down the line much like a fireman would slip down the pole to respond to an emergency call.
He landed gracefully in the middle of the heap of food as he'd intended. He'd made it, and the first fellow had not seen him; he was too busy with his head ducked into the seeds.
When he did raise his beak, and he saw he wasn't alone, he was thoroughly flabbergasted for about a second- where did you come from? his shiny eye seemed to say. His mouth was full of bits of seed.
He swallowed, gathered his feathers, then, indignant, promptly ran at the second bird, who flew off, all his plans foiled.
I'd like to be able to report that the second fellow's persistence paid off, that he came up with a clever plan and deservedly got the goods in the end, but he didn't get so much as a chance to smell the food.
Still, he tried.
He saw a door where other patiently-waiting birds saw no door, and that's always admirable, however it turns out in the end.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 2:01 PM