Monday, March 9, 2009


                                                  Dan Piraro - cartoonist

Bird Feeders

Before I moved to Buffalo I lived in a house that had a very large lot and had a typical English flower garden. The new (to me) home has a very small lot which is only 28 feet wide. 

Previously in my garden I had 14 birdhouses and several bird feeders all of which provided me with hours of pleasure. Last year I had some difficulty placing the feeders at a location where I would be able to view the birds as they came to visit. Due to lack of space I had to cut down on the numbers and  the desire was to place them near a window.

Along one side of the house is a very long paved driveway and there is only about 24” of walking access on the other side. So, I finally decided on two feeders placed strategically outside of windows.

During the summer months this worked well – the birds arrived daily and I would view them from either my kitchen or bedroom window. I was happy and they were happy. However, I had not given much thought as to how I would access them during the winter months. 

Here is what happened, after Western New York received almost 100” of snow during the season, I no longer had access to refill the feeders. The snow had a thigh high accumulation on the ground preventing me from walking alongside the house.

What to do? I tried several times to reach the feeders but to no avail. So, while feeling guilty that I was no longer providing seed for my little feathered friends I realized that I would have to wait until spring to relocate the feeders.

Meantime I started noticing a daily gathering of birds around my house and I tried to scatter seeds around but of course this was foolish. Have you ever thrown a handful of seeds on top of snow? They sink from sight immediately! I can only imagine that when springtime comes I will have a harvest of sunflowers, millet and various other plants from the seeds that I scattered.

I saw this cartoon in the Parade newspaper and while I was not languishing in bed during the winter months I could relate immediately. I am sure that the birds that were gathered around my house were devising a way to get in to get my attention. If I had raised a window for a short space of time – they would have entered the home to check on me.

Anyway, I am glad to say that the winter season is coming to an end and I will soon have access to the feeders. Now I have to find other locations for them.

Once again, proving that “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” – now where did that quote come from and why do I have it in my head?
Oh yes, Robert Burns said it to a mouse after he turned up her nest with a plough, in November, 1785. He felt guilty when he realized that she and her family would have no home during the winter. I recognize that guilt - I have been carrying that feeling for a while. Now I am wondering if the words I have written will be quoted more than two hundred years from now.

 Mice, birds, close enough! 
Sometimes trying to live in harmony with nature is not as simple as it may seem.

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