Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Days of our Yards

There was a short spurt in my life when my first child was an infant that I became hopelessly addicted to a soap opera.  Once when the show was cut out due to dangerous storm coverage, I actually wrote the station a nasty letter complaining that I missed my program because of their overprotective forecasting.  (I am still fairly ashamed of this.)
Thankfully my addiction didn’t last long and besides that bit of time, I have never been much of a person to enjoy watching the drama in someone else’s life.  I love a good storyline, but can’t stand to spend my spare time wrapped up in the problems of someone else when I have plenty of my own.
So I don’t watch soaps.  On television, that is.
Every spring when days get warmer and brighter, I get much better at keeping my bird feeders full.  “You spend more on those birds than you do me,” chirps my husband.   I can’t help myself, though.  Those birds become the soap opera that I never thought I’d ever watch, but I do.
I stand at my kitchen sink, occasionally washing a dish or two, and scan for the latest backyard drama.  And it’s getting juicy.
There’s a robin that was just crazy enough to build her nest right on the platform of our swing set next to the slide.  She sits there constantly until the kids get home from school and run screaming into the yard, but always keeps watch, which is really smart because there are also cowbirds and bluejays in the area.  (Both of those are potential bad guys who might harm those eggs.)  That mom is always on guard, and if you’re a bird, don’t even try to get close.  She’ll dive bomb you and flap you right on out of there.
She’s got neighbors, too.  Messy house sparrows have moved into one nesting box, but the sweetest little Carolina wrens are setting up shop in another one.  So much comedy as they gather twigs longer than the entry hole and have to figure out how to get them in there.
More neighbors are expected, too, or at least visitors.  The hummingbird feeders are set and ready alongside the regular feeders that often serve as the main stage for the backyard drama.  In the spring, you never know who will show up.  A rose-breasted grosbeak might make a cameo appearance.  And then everything is peaceful until a squirrel shows up, or a quirky chipmunk miraculously makes it way up the post. 

If you’re not a backyard bird watcher, chances are you think I’m a little nuttier than those aforementioned squirrels.  Maybe I am.  But a promise that nothing is an unpredictable as the nature out your backdoor.  And I’ll even venture further to say that birdseed is probably cheaper than cable.  At least that’s what I tell my husband.

Published 5/11/14

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