Sunday, June 14, 2009


A while ago, I wrote about my non-green thumb when it comes to growing plants. Now I have another admission to make: I also do not attract high-class birds to my bird feeder.

A few weeks ago, we sat at our friends’ home, eating dinner. Outside their window, a couple of bird feeders had attracted three beautiful yellow finches—honestly, just as if they were there to add ambience to the dinner table. We all ate our meal, ooohing and aaaahing over the yellow finches flitting daintily like tiny dancers, hired for our special entertainment.

And once when we were visiting one of Tom’s sisters, we spent a half hour looking out their dining room window at their three bird feeders—and we saw a couple of hummingbirds, three cardinals, a brilliant blue jay, a red-headed woodpecker, and a dozen or so scarlet tangers. It was like watching the nature channel on cable TV.

So why does my bird feeder attract only big, noisy, ugly birds that look like extras in a vampire movie? I don’t know if they’re blackbirds or crows or ravens or what they are. All I know is that they’re huge and rude and scare all the other birds away—plus leave enormous, pungent piles of guano (fancy name for bird poop) on our deck furniture and driveway.

I have tried different kinds of bird seed: “Song Bird!” claims one bag. I buy it, put it into the bird feeder, and suddenly I have 87 turkey vultures circling around my yard.

I have tried “Black Oil Sunflower” and “Striped Sunflower,” hoping to attract the goldfinches, cardinals, and bluejays that the bag says I will attract. Instead, ugly brown rough-legged desert buzzards swoop in, scaring away any little titmouses and nuthatches that may timidly ventured in for a snack.

I have tried millet and cracked corn and safflower blend. The result? Bad-luck albatross-type birds, disease-carrying pigeons, bossy blackbirds—cawing and swooping around the yard. What have I done to attract these large, ugly, evil birds?

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a bad Alfred Hitchcock movie as The Birds in my trees lay in wait . . . biding their time . . . waiting for the day when I let my guard down so they can take over my house, my yard, my bird feeder . . . and make it their own.

I'll admit I've been tempted to just shoot a long-horned steer, throw its rotting carcass into the yard, and let the evil birds have their way with it, ripping and tearing its flesh with their beaks and talons. The heck with those tiny little thistle seeds at $6.50 a pound.


2to4aday said...

Correction: I do have a robin in my yard, but it's dead. Honestly. It flew into a window and killed itself. It is lying on its back, beak up, right outside my bedroom window. So I shouldn't say I only have evil birds in my yard; my house is also a place where socially acceptable birds come to commit suicide.

NEBirdhouse said...

Wow, it sounds like you've really had a rough go at attracting birds. My advice would be to add a bird bath or fountain with moving water, and try a fruit or insect suet basket.

If you're interested, here's an article with other tips for attracting wild birds to your backyard.

Elaine said...

Your stories crack me up! I guess because I can relate--especially about this one. For years, the only birds we had in the backyard were scrubjays, like bluejays, but worse, and we were so desperate for birds in the backyard, that we called them bluebirds and fed them and made birdbaths.

Jenny said...

OK here's my two cents...or three or four. I also do not possess a green thumb. BUT, I'm pretty darn good at persuading those cute little yellow finches to eat at me casa. Here's my little bloggy link to a post I wrote last year: