Feed the Birds

I am not sure if there are any “Mary Poppins” fans reading this, but those of you who remember the movie starring Julie Andrews might remember the song “Feed the Birds”. It feels dated and a little cheezy for this era, but birds still need food. They want to chow down no matter what time of year.

You can spend big bucks on bird feeders. Ours is a post with a big flat board on top of it. The board is weather warped so it has a bit of bow in it. The Pine Siskins, Chickadees and other smaller winged wonders get to pick their elevations. When it ices up after a snow fall, they kinda slide downhill.

Since the feeder was built late in the fall, the chipmunks haven’t had a chance to climb the post to gorge on sunflower and thistle seeds. They are sleeping right now, just waiting to come out in the spring and stuff their fat cheeks. The pole will need some modification to keep them from overeating. One trip to the coop a month is enough, not every week. I am on a fixed income after all.

Bigger birds clear out the feeder when they show up. Blue Jays are particularly aggressive. You don’t mess with those boys. But even they leave in a hurry when the Pileated Woodpeckers show up.

We feed ducks when they come back after the lagoon opens in the spring. Of course they pair up, the males preening and possessive, hoping to spread their genes. We feed them and give them names, but who can tell one Mallard from another? Every year it’s Darrell and Desi. They fly in for the whole corn I broadcast on the lawn. Desi was a bit bold this year, following me into the garage looking for a handout. Wood ducks are shyer than the Mallards. They still like the meals, but have to be observed from a distance.

Canada Geese are always lurking around near the edge of the lake. I made the mistake one day of broadcasting corn while they were browsing on the neighbor’s lawn. Not a good idea. It took several days of harassment with a BB gun and a broom to extinguish their foraging behaviors. I had to sneak out in the dead of night to spread corn on the lawn. They can see lunch from a distance.

So, we feed the birds, not the geese. Tough bounce dudes.

Author: Doug Lewandowski

I have walked a varied path. I was a Christian Brother, an English teacher/counselor and Licensed Psychologist. I have a twice monthly column in the Duluth News Tribune and have had a story published in the Nemadji Review and placed third in this year’s Jade Ring contest of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. I was a commentator for KCRB, Minnesota Public Radio in the 90s. I transplanted to Duluth to be closer to grandchildren.

1 thought on “Feed the Birds

  1. Janet Ellison says:

    I feed birds too down at the lake. I have an on-going battle with squirrels–Gary calls me Annie Oakley when I get my air rifle out, stick it through a hole in the screen (that the squirrels made) and try to shoot them off the bird feeder. I also feed deer whole corn when I see them on our property. Same problem on our boat dock with Canadian Geese–awful little buggers. They chase little kids when they’re nesting, and poop all over the dock, boats, and parking lot. Sometimes they will actually get up on a boat, try to form some kind of nest and lay an egg or two, much to the boat owner’s dismay.

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