I have never been fond of birds in cages, but I like wild birds. For years, I have had a bird feeder where I could watch the little critters fly around. It made me happy.
In my first house, there were the squirrels that would raid the bird feeder. They were well fed on the birdseed, but I didn’t really mind because they were very acrobatic and frankly, there are few things funnier than a squirrel hanging upside-down and stretching to reach the feeder, especially when they take the occasional tumble and get up and try again. It became a game of keep-away between the squirrels and the birds with the squirrels winning most days.
Things change. I got married and moved to a new house. It was in a wooded lot with lots of mature trees. There was a perfect spot for a bird feeder, right outside my kitchen window. My husband bought a new feeder for me. It was a great gift. I could watch the birds visit while I worked in the kitchen. The cat had a great spot by the porch door and would spend hours planning his attack. (Since he is an indoor cat, his plans were seldom implemented.) We had blue jays, cardinals, robins, woodpeckers, sparrows and crows. We started putting suet out and more birds arrived. We did have a few raiders. There were a couple of squirrels during the day, but they were not as successful as before, perhaps because the feeder was on a pole. A couple of times at night the feeder was emptied, we were not sure by what since we had deer and skunks visiting. Overall, it was not too bad and the birds were prolific. I really had a great time and I managed to hook my husband on bird watching and feeding.
We sold the house and moved. By now my husband is a convert, so on a trip to the home improvement store, we bought a new bird feeder. It has been challenging. We hung the feeder in a tree, but the birds didn’t like the spot. We thought it might be too low, and too susceptible to predators. We hung the feeder higher. Now we use the stepladder to fill the feeder. (Even though we are no longer as young as we used to be.) The birds came, unfortunately so did the raccoon. The beast clawed his way up the tree and enjoyed the bird food. Okay, we’ll fix that. We moved the feeder to a littler branch. That seemed to work…for a while. The last week we noticed the lid of the feeder off and the food disappearing overnight. Ricky the Raccoon is back. Yesterday we moved the feeder again to a metal pole in the middle of the lawn. Aesthetically, it just isn’t the right spot, but so far only the birds are using the feeder. The plan is to move the pole closer to the tree and see if we can still avoid the midnight raider. The war is on. The only question is: who will win the raccoon or the humans? To date, it has been Ricky the Raccoon.