It had been a cool night, so the air conditioning was off and the windows were open. It was around 9:30 in the morning when I realized that there was a lot of noise coming in through the windows. I got up and went to look. More than a dozen birds of all kinds were lined up on the deck railing. All squawking furiously because their feeders were empty. There were even a couple of squirrels in the mix.

I got up, went outside. Indeed, the feeders were empty. Not a seed was left. There should have been at least a half or a third in both cage feeders. The complete emptiness could only mean one thing — the flying squirrels are back. We’ll have to take the feeders inside at night. I love my flying squirrels, but the amount of food they can eat in a single night is astounding. I can’t do it. They’d go through a 40-pound bag every night if I let them.

I filled both feeders, then poured black sunflower seeds into the flat one. Before I’d moved away, there were birds all around me. At some point they appear to have decided I am non-threatening. They fly around my head when I’m out there. We go out there to grill on the barbecue and the birds don’t bother to stop eating.

The squirrels are totally unimpressed by me too. I can walk right up to them and they just sit there, looking at me. I can read their thoughts. “Yeah? And what are you gonna do about it, eh?” The only way I can get them to move — really move and not just hide under the deck and until I go inside — is to call the Duke. He runs around sniffing and making little woofing sounds when he sees a squirrel hiding under the railing. They may not be intimidated by me, but they aren’t too sure about the Duke. I don’t actually think he would do anything to them, but he would really like to catch one just because he’s a dog and they are squirrels. It’s a dog thing.

The birds are uninterested in the Duke, so they just keep eating. Especially the Chickadees. They are our smallest bird, but they are not afraid of anything — except not getting their meals on time.

Are we now the ONLY people feeding them? There ought to be plenty of food in the woods this time of year. There are berries and seeds and insects. The dead trees are full of big fat beetles. I have sometimes watched a woodpecker on the dead tree looking at the tree, then looking at the feeder and finally deciding he wants some seeds. After which he goes back to the tree.

My shrink informed me that I am not intimidating and neither is Garry. That probably explains why El Duque does whatever he wants and pays no never mind to anything I say — unless I’m holding a treat. It was Ellin (Curley) who pointed out that people like us do not have well-trained dogs.

My son pointed out that I’m more intimidating on the phone than in person. I’m not even sure about that. The other day, I had to call Chewie and explain they had billed me incorrectly. After fixing that, we had a LONG conversation about dogs and what I thought Duke might be under all that fur. The conversation got so long that I had to eventually say I had to go make dinner and thanks for the help.

All these years, I thought I was tough. I’m not sure what to make of this news. I’m 74 and I don’t scare anyone. My dogs used to laugh at me (yes, they DO laugh) when I yelled at them. I could see them thinking, “What’s she gonna do about it? How hard can she hit me? Can she even catch me?”

I’m not the person I thought I was. Sad, but true. Even the wild birds know the truth. I think I was the only one who didn’t know.

Categories: Anecdote, Animals, birds, Blackstone Valley, Cardinal, Chickadee, flying squirrel, Goldfinch, Northern Flicker, Photography

Tags: , , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. It must be making your bird and squirrel photography a bit easier now that they are all happy to continue dining while you are on the deck.


  2. I think its wonderful you feed the birds the way you do. Why do you want to be intimidating? Other people don’t like intimidating people. There are much better qualities to have and you do have them in abundance.


    • I just want the squirrels to go away when I ask them to leave and not have to tell the Duke to send them on their way. I actually wouldn’t mind if my dog occasionally did what I asked either. I don’t get any respect at all.


  3. This post reminded me of the scene from Cinderella movie when all the birds gather around her.


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