Thursday, 23 June 2011

"Suddenly" - Billy Ocean, 1989

Our bird feeders have been very popular places lately, and John and I really enjoy watching the birds. I was watching the feeder just outside our kitchen window this afternoon, especially enjoying the baby sparrows and baby great tits being fed and watched over by their doting parents.

Not long after I snapped this photo, something awful happened. A sparrowhawk swooped into the hedge, grabbed one of the baby sparrows, and flew off with it. Before leaving the garden, the hawk sat on top of the roof of our bird table with the struggling sparrow in his/her talons. It glared at me, and then flew off with the helpless little bird.

I was stunned. OK. I know this happens, but I'd never actually seen it myself. And as you might imagine, there have been no birds in our back garden since...not even when I refilled seed feeders early this evening.

Now, I know the birds will return. But it has still been very unsettling.

I guess it's just like our lives. We're rocking along, having fun, thinking everything is all right. And suddenly, something awful happens.

It's nature, reminding us that we're not in charge. No matter how much we think we're in control of our lives, we aren't.


Sunday, 5 June 2011

"Shades of Gray" - Robert Earl Keen, 1997

I'm in a battle with a squirrel. He/she eats the food put out for the birds, spills seeds out of the hanging feeders, and chases the birds away from the bird table.

I've been trying all sorts of things to stop the squirrel. So far, what has worked best is putting chili powder on the feeders and on any seeds that are set out for the birds.. According to the RSPB, it's ok for the birds -- apparently they can't taste it. I would have been terrified that I was hurting the birds by doing that, but obviously not. Whew!

So this afternoon, as I was washing dishes in the kitchen, I saw my little nemesis creeping into the garden. I decided to take no action but to just watch and see what the little bastardo did. I was confident that the chili powder would act as a deterrent.

He/she sniffed around the ground for quite some time before making a move....

He/she then climbed up onto the bird table (and that's when my camera batteries ran out...), but was turned away by the chili powder. He/she spent a little time hanging onto the peanut feeder but then, I suspect, tasted the chili powder spread on there, too. He/she dropped back onto the grass. So that's when I made my move, bounding out the kitchen door to chase the little demon away.

And that's when the squirrel headed for my bed of strawberry plants, stole a little stem of tiny green berries, and then headed for the nearest tree.

After all my efforts to stop the squirrel from eating the birds' food, he/she ate MINE!