Encouraged by your encouragement, I did a few more birds including a pair of Cardinals. They aren’t as fat this year, probably because they have to compete with a giant flock of starving Grackles.
I don’t know if the Grackles are really starving, but they act like they haven’t eaten in years. They act like that while they are eating, so I think that like the Duke, they are permanently ready for a good feed.
The problem is, they come down by the dozens and clean out every seed and all the suet. Our birdseed has doubled in price over the past three months — inflation, in case you haven’t noticed. What used to be about $45/month is now closer to $100/month which is a lot of money to a couple of retirees. There’s nothing I can do about it short of taking away the food, something I hate doing in the middle of the winter. I’m not putting any suet out until the Grackles move on or I give up and realize that from here on until they decide to travel, it’s Armstrong and the Grackles, together forever.
I keep being told that they will eventually move on, but ours don’t seem to be going anywhere except across the street where there are more feeders. I could manage a dozen Grackles, but there are at least a hundred — which is an unusually big flock. Not every bird is a Grackle though most are. A dozen or so are crows and there are a few Starlings mixed in the group. The Starlings are smaller than Grackles, so they sometimes show up without the rest of the gang and take over the wood feeder.
If we had a lot more money, I’d find a way to take care of every creature who lives in our woods, but we aren’t those people. I don’t know any non-rich folks who have the means to feed so many birds, especially not retirees. We have this fixed income thing, so as prices rise while our incomes don’t. It’s an endless battle to feed ourselves. I have no solution for this issue. Basically, what the Cornell people say is, “Well, at least they are beautiful and as American as any bird 🐦could possibly be.”
Indeed they are beautiful. And hungry.
This month, I have trimmed down my drawing because the Cardinals aren’t quite as fat — even with Garry, me and the Duke rapping on the windows (Garry and me), barking on the deck (that would be the Duke) and all that. They fly away, but they come back again and again and again.
I’m happy with how the Grackle turned out but I’m not happy enough with either of the Cardinals. They need work so until I draw one I actually like, I’ll keep trying.