“How a Bird Feeder Revived My Marriage”
I enjoyed this column, “How a Bird Feeder Revived My Marriage,” by Tista Sen, in the NY Times on how a bird feeder made life better.
Our marriage did not need reviving, but our bird feeder—which initially sat for several months, ignored—is now a constant source of enjoyment for us and (of course) for Molly, who has learned that if she rushes to capture the birds she bangs her nose painfully on the sliding glass doors. So, after 2 serious crashes, she approaches more cautiously. She’s also learned that the direct approach frightens away the interesting little creatures, so she’s found a way to observe from the side, unseen behind the curtains, looking through a gap.
The birds line up on the railing, either taking their turn or cutting in at the head of the line (there are jerks in every species). Four little birds can be in the feeder, and larger birds—the bluejays—can hold on with their feet and get a bit with their head.
One jay figured out how to open the lid through which we fill the feeder and was being a glutton, but The Wife spotted him at it, chased him away, and taped the lid shut. When he returned, he was angry! And he showed it.
We now use up about 5 lbs of birdseed every 10 days, and the courtyard is filled with fluttering and birdsong. A few weeks ago, we watched the fluffy adolescents come and learn how to eat from the feeder. It’s not usual for a bird to feed another bird, but whether it’s a parent feeding a child, a friend feeding a friend, or a date, we don’t know.
I will point out that a bird feeder represents a commitment as much as a pet does: the birds, though wild, come to depend on the food, and its availability doubtless prompts some to have offspring, now that there is a reliable source of nourishment. It’s not something to start unless you can keep it up. And, as I note, the birds are currently eating about 8 oz per day.
Here’s a somewhat out-of-focus photo of our feeder, with at least one bird inside and one playing King of the Hill on top. (Focus is because the autofocus was bouncing off the glass doors, I imagine.) I really like this feeder because it keeps out large birds like pigeons and jays.