Feeding the birds, and the deer, again...and again

What a day! The sun is shining, the backyard is full of birds. The glare off the snow is almost blinding, free Vitamin D for all! I stood at the kitchen window appreciating the beauty of winter.

As my eyes grew accustomed to the brightness, I started to notice little things, like the fact that the chickadees were about the size of softballs and there were no smiles on their little beaks.

I glanced at the thermometer — it read zero. This still bothers me, how can a temperature be nothing? I know a lady who wears a size zero dress and she can go about in polite society with nothing on. How can it be cold enough to put goose bumps on a polar bear and still be nothing? We need to change this.

I went out to fill the bird feeders, I dressed appropriately and waddled to the porch door feeling like the little brother in “The Christmas Story.” If I ever slipped and fell, they probably wouldn’t find me until the spring thaw because I’d never make it back onto my feet without serious help.

All the feeders were empty, a fact emphasized by my little buddy, the Bull Chickadee. This little ball of fluff has taken upon himself the job of Head of the Complaint Department. He sits in the lilac bush and fills the chill air with birdy complaints and the fluffy equivalent of cuss words.

My fingers are starting to get numb and icicles form in my moustache and I’ve only been outside for five minutes.

I shovel the last feeder full and make a dash for the warmth of my cozy kitchen. I peel off layer after layer and finally get to a level where I will still be warm and yet have some mobility. I refill my coffee mug and look out the window to enjoy the birds.

No birds in sight, Bambi and his mom are out there, slurping the seeds out of the feeders. Bambi is a fawn from last spring and is just starting to get the bumps on his head where his first antlers will appear. Mom is a good-sized doe and a good mother.

She is also an accomplished bird feeder raider. She balances on her hind legs and French kisses the seeds out of the feeders faster than I could have filled them. She gets most of the seeds, but enough shower down to keep little Bambi lapping and chewing. I should go and shoo them away but they’re all fluffed up against the cold like the birds.

It’s a tough time of the year to make a living if you’re a deer so I watch them. It takes about five minutes to empty the feeders that I had just filled. I watch them stroll back into the woods as the next group moves in to check for leftovers. This bunch consists of seven gray squirrels and one little red one. Bambi must have missed a bunch of seeds because the squirrels all seem to be chowing down at a remarkable rate.

I should go scare them off, but they too are all fluffed up and seem so happy and my coffee tastes so good that I just stand and enjoy them.

Eventually they wander off, I finish my coffee and start to get dressed again.

Back out into the cold, the inside of my nose gets the crinklies and a fleeting wish that my legs could run as fast as my nose crosses my mind. With chickadee chirps harassing me all the way, I refilled the feeders and retreated to the kitchen’s warmth.

After I peeled again, I returned to the window to watch the feeding frenzy, the thermometer now reading below zero.

I remember Grampa saying, “When the days begin to length, the cold begins to strengthen.” That was just before he moved to Florida.

Thought for the week — Every morning is the dawn of a new error.

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at Whittle12124@yahoo.com.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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