Tuesday, May 17, 2011

For the Birds

Since leaving North Carolina two and a half years ago, there are some things that I have gradually (not gracefully) let go of.  For example, driving my Corolla, Amy's soups/dressings/frozen foods, seeing the stars at night, Marshalls & TJ Maxx (not Big Lots - still miss it big time!).  But one thing I just haven't (and likely never will) learn to live without is seeing birds outside my window.

I think this might be genetic.  My Grandma Delores sits and looks out at her birdfeeder at the multitude of birds she attracts with her birdfeeder daily.  When I visit, it is an on-going topic of conversation.  "Oh, look at the robin" "Quick, there is a blue jay!" or "Finch alert".  My other Grandma NeeNers told me about the hawk in her yard.  But beyond the genetic disposition, one of my fondest living memories of life in Durham is laying in bed being awoken by the cacophony of a hundred different birds.  Laying there as the sun grew stronger and the birdsong grew quieter is a joyous and wonderful way to start the day.  Our house was backed up against a mess of chaotic, uncut, untrimmed, untouched trees which you could hardly walk through.  I know because a few times Olivia (dog) wandered off, I would go searching for her in this twisted mess of branches and vines.

This is one of my greatest losses, blessed birdsong.

When a friend moved into her own house with yard early this year, we got her (at my insistence) a birdfeeder.  And believe me, they are not easy to find in France nor are they cheap.  But, projecting my own desires on to her, we got her one after much searching.  Funny but true, at the store, we asked the clerk if she could tell us where they were and she said, oh no, they don't sell birdfeeders, just cages and so on.  A few moments later, I see a couple of different types piled up on top of some dog food.  I say to the lady, well what about those?  Oh no, those are just displays!!!!  So, after talking to the manager, he agrees we can buy one of the displays.  That is why her birdfeeder did not come in a box!  We also got her a big bag of birdfeed, knowing she might have a hard time finding it.

Back of my building view (private yard), cute - but no bird feeder or bath :(
I decide a few weeks later, that I am going to get my own bird feeder, and put it on my fourth floor window.  Occasionally birds fly by, one of them is bound to see it and come visit.  From there, word will spread to all the other little cuties and they will flock to my window like birds to a feeder. 

I decided to avoid the shopping trap ("the" as if there were only one) and I went online to buy a suction cup, clear feeder.  I found a cool non-profit like the Audubon Society in the states.  Of course, they had a little store on their website.  I chose the "apartment dweller" birdfeeder (making me giddy with visions of songbird greedily gulping down the seed from my 4th floor window and then thanking me with some pleasant trilling each morning).  I also added to my basket a big bag of seed, skipping the small one.  I was worried I might run out and not find more soon enough thereby losing the birds' interest.

When the box arrived, I immediately washed the windows, filled up the birdfeeder and stuck it to the window.  I wanted to wait all day and watch the birds come, but I knew it might take a couple of days for them to realize the new neighborhood snackbar had opened.  Days and then weeks went by.  So did the birds.  Not one visitor.  I watched the birdseed not decrease.  Even when we weren't home, no birds.

A couple of months went by and I felt like a genuine asshole.  I would be on the ground looking up at our window and wondering how many of my neighbors looked at my birdfeeder and laughed at me.  "Dumb American, thinking she is going to feed birds"!

Then one day, the unthinkable happened.  Since no birds were coming, I seemed to forget the birdfeeder right in front of my face as I yanked down the wooden outside shutter on a particularly bright day and basically ripped the feeder from it's suction.  I heard bird seed falling down like hail on the car parked below and then two pieces of plastic followed.  It was done.  My birdfeeder attempt had failed and I was crushed.

Except, no wait, it hadn't.

As I scooped up some of the seed from the window sill?  cill?  what is that word anyway?  As I scooped it up, I put it in a bowl for "later".  We all know that means.  For when I will eventually throw it away and claim my defeat.  The bowl of bird seed was moved around from counter to cutting board to shelf to etc when I decided to just put it back out on the window sill.  Really, the birdfood didn't belong IN my kitchen.

Imagine my surprise when what was at my window TODAY?  That's right, a shiny pigeon.  Now, I know that many people refer to them as rats with wings.  I don't give a damn, they HAVE wings and they were stopping by.  Sabine and I stood in the kitchen and she pointed at them filling their gullets and I said, "Look Sabine, BIRDS!"

Our first bird friend!


Adam said...

That's a start! If you ever need me to send you some feeders let me know!

Shernett said...

Pigeons- Rats with wings. That's hilarious! I haven't heard that one before. Cute blog by the way. Good luck.

oliviadog said...

Thanks Adam! That is sweet of you. I will let you know.

Shernett, thanks for stopping by. If you don't want to miss another brilliant post by me (kidding!) you might as well subscribe or follow.

Adam and Shernett, I miss seeing you both!