The Birds

It took me over 40 years and one winter to break down and do it.

I joined generations of my ancestors in being a Bird Lady.

I don’t own one in the house—oh, no. That’s a whole bucket of heartbreak and crazy I won’t even begin to consider. My grandmother had parakeets. Some of my best friends have birds. Like fish and other non-mammalian pets that you can’t actually pet, Birds have always meant to me caged creatures whose poop needs to be cleaned up regularly. Since we don’t even take the newspaper any more, I have no means, nor desire to deal with bird poop.

Instead, I’ve become one of those people who buys birdseed and scatters it on her lawn. I am informed by my youngest son, (who, like all my sons, is an Expert In All Things) that this is wrong and irresponsible of me. We should be filling birdhouses and bird feeders. I try explaining that these birds, being wild creatures, are more than capable of getting their food off the ice and snow which finally brought me to break down and buy that first back of seed. He rolls his eyes at me because I know nothing.

Within a few hours, the birds had discovered my seed. My poor cats have spent the last two days sitting in the window, whining at the flock gathering on the back patio. The first cupful I put out there is gone. The second cupful is going. I estimate I have seven days before I have to pick up another bag of the stuff at Kroger.

But I know what’s coming. More birds bring more birds. More birds eat more seed faster.

Before long, that little Kroger bag won’t be enough. I’ll end up driving to the feed store for a 20 pound bag. Or a 50 pound bag. Or maybe I’ll just fill the back end of a pickup with birdseed, like my father and mother do to feed the Hitchcockian horror show that takes up the balcony off their sunroom.

I know the strategy: When you get the truckload, take along a small hatchet. Drive as fast as you can, window wipers beating, to get through the barrage of wings and beaks that surround you. Once the vehicle is stopped, open the rear window of the cab just a wee bit and slice through the bags, spilling your seed on the truck bed (which, I’m pretty sure, the Bible warns us about, by the way).

Then, as the birds dive-bomb the rear you run from the front of the truck to the safety of your back door.

What’s that, you say? Your screen door has a hole in it?

Ah, well. It was nice knowing you.