Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Long time readers of this blog may know that I really love birds. I love listening to them, I love watching them, I love observing their feather colors and identifying them with my nerdy bird reference guide. My daughter has also picked up the birding gene. She LOVES to watch them in our yard and learn about the different birds common to our area. We watch the birds and go through the bird guide together. It's a whole big warm and fuzzy Discovery Channel moment. So we got a bird feeder.

*ominous music begins playing in the background*

I mentioned on a recent Tea Time that my love affair with our bird feeder recently went through a crisis due to an uninvited, furry interloper in our yard who was going after the the seed that inevitably drops to the ground. Said furry interloper is decidedly NOT a squirrel, whom I would not object to at all. Squirrels are CUTE. I know many people hate them, and classify them as the rodents that they technically are, but seriously. They have sweet faces and bushy tails, how bad could they be? Granted, I wouldn't want them in my house, but they have never shown any interest in such a notion. They want to scurry around and play with fire by dashing across the road in front of my car, eat bird seed off the ground in my yard, and then hurry back to their tree. Fine with me.

No, aforementioned interloper is far more nefarious than his squirrel cousins. He's full bodied and has a long, skinny, hairless tail.

*shudder of revulsion*

His name begins with an 'r.' I'm dying even as I type this. At any rate, we put out a catcher thing, which he promptly ignored, and thus we simply let the food source dry up. Anne and I mourned the loss of our bird friends who didn't find our yard nearly so interesting to hang out in without food awaiting them in the feeder. And our other "friend" also disappeared after a few days. We all breathed a sigh of relief, and I sprang into action in full-out librarian mode to find a solution to our little problem. A friend and fellow bird-lover suggested that it may have been our bird food. Switch up to a much less interesting blend of seed, and though we wouldn't get the same variety of birds to our feeder, we also wouldn't attract the scheming vermin. Done.

I waited a full week, missing our Cardinal pals the whole time. Another several days. Then Anne and I cautiously put the innocuous seed mix into the feeder for a trial run. The birds sniffed it right out and were delighted. We welcomed them with open arms. My heart sang at seeing the Cardinals, Blue Jays and House Finches once again pecking away in our yard. The feeder emptied, and I left it alone for another full week. I wanted to assure that the ground eating birds ate all of the excess seed before filling the feeder again.  The week passed, and so last night Anne and I filled the feeder again. Cautious optimism was alive in my heart.

As I came out of the shower yesterday after dinner, I saw the female Cardinal lounging in our backyard from out the back window. I beamed at her and headed upstairs to get dressed.

Several minutes later, I'm still upstairs getting ready for our evening of popcorn eating, movie watching and knitting when Anne bursts in:

"MOM! The Mommy Cardinal is out there!"

Indeed. Adore that Mommy Cardinal.

"And a sparrow!"

Not nearly so interesting, but I have no beef with the sparrows. They can't help it that they lack the pizazz of other birds. It's just the way God made them. ;-)

"And our mouse friend!"

"Yeah, and...Wait, WHAT?!"

I dashed to the window in disbelief. Indeed, the little *#!&er was out there helping himself, without a care in the world, blissfully unaware of the heartbreak that his presence was causing in our house. Because this second little foray made it official - we cannot have a traditional bird feeder. The urban neighborhood that we live in just does not make for the right conditions. I think that poor Anne was hoping that by elevating his status to a friendly one, we would let him stay and peacefully co-exist with the birds, but of course, NO, NO NO. We must once again dry up the food source. And then we cannot refill it.

I was teary-eyed watching the Cardinal pair last night before I went to bed. We probably will still occasionally see them after this, but only fleetingly and it won't be the same. I think we'll pick up a hummingbird feeder the next time we're at the hardware store, as they eat nectar, which as a liquid will not pose a rodent problem. Anne is excited about that, so we'll give it a go. I'll still in mourning over the loss of the other birds, but carry on I must.


I need to be cheered up. Who has an amusing story to share in the comments? :-)


  1. Haha this is hilarious! We could be friends, I'm a bird lover too, my last post is about the bluebirds I have nesting in my yard!
    Although we don't have rats here, well, not that I've ever seen, just mice. They don't bother my seed, just an annoying but cute chipmunk that has figured out how to run up a metal shepherds hook to get to my seed? I put vaseline on it and that took care of that issue.
    But I hate House sparrows, if that's what you have too, they kill bluebirds :(
    Is the rat just eating whatever falls on the ground? I have this bird feeder which works well for containing most of the seed, if you don't have success with hummingbirds (I never have) you could always try a style like this that catches most of the fallen seed on the tray. Mine was much cheaper at a farm supply store, but here is the amazon link to show you what I mean
    or a simliar one

  2. Allison, I knew you were a bird lover too, I should have asked you way back when! Thanks for the suggestions, I especially like that second one. The cardinals would be too big :( but I really don't see a solution for them that doesn't have the falling seed problem. We get overrun by Grackles too, and though I don't have anything against them personally, they can be a bit of a nuisance. ;-) So this type of feeder would keep them out too. We do have sparrows and finches here, and smaller Downy Woodpeckers. I've never seen anything else exotic that is smaller, just not the right setting for them, not country enough. ;-)

  3. Nooooooooooooooooooooo! That is the WORST, I am so sorry you're losing the birds. :/ We had to take down our feeders because the squirrels kept breaking in. lol Hopefully the hummingbird feeder does the trick!

    Let's see...funny story to help Tiffany feel better...hmmmm...

    Okay, try this one:

    So I have two daughters, one is 7 and the other is 5. They were recently baptized Catholic (having never been baptized before my conversion) and as a gift, they each received a gorgeous rosary featuring Our Lady of Guadalupe. I explained to them, very seriously, how this was not a toy, it was sacred and needed to be treated as such. It was not to be left on the floor, not swung around their heads like a lasso. I also encouraged them to use it, it was a way to get close to their Blessed Mother. Tey could talk to her anytime and ask her to pray for them, for whatever they needed, etc.

    My 5 year old kisses the crucifix and then whispers into it, "I'd like some gummy bears please..."


  4. Maggi,

    AWWWWWWWWW. :0 That is SO sweet. My kids do love rosaries, though they don't pray with them nearly as much as I'd like them to! They just seem to enjoy holding them and looking at them. ;-)

  5. I need to be more diligent with trying to pray the rosary with them, they know what it is, they obviously have one, lol. They know the Hail Mary and Glory Be and my oldest knows the OF. I just need to make it a thing, maybe the CD will help! :D

  6. Maggi, the CD *will* help. In the car, they're a captive audience! ;-)


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