Some years ago I wrote a column titled “the weight of the situation” about my relationship with the usual array of birds that frequent my neighborhood; seagulls, crows, and blue jays.
There are lots of mixed thoughts concerning the feeding of these birds; it’s a real argument starter depending on which side of the feed, no-feed, side of the fence you’re on! However, I had started feeding birds as a form of entertainment for my late Mother who loved to watch them land and take off. I noticed a lot of characteristics of the three types over several years and I thought I might be the same ones time after time. They are fascinating creatures dealing with weight, wind, rain, brilliant sunshine, and natural predators while flying about. Heck I have enough of a problem just dealing with traffic and going to the market!
However, recently I’ve been politely asked by several neighbors to quit feeding the birds if in fact I’m doing that! Now a lot of this coincides with the housing market. On the street where I live there are several homes that were put on the market when it was booming but within the last year several of the owners hoping to sell for a profit found the bottom falling out of the market so they have been forced to keep the For Sale signs up and hold open houses and let potential buyers schedule appointments to view the homes.
At first I had visions of myself being the guy who goes to the park every day to feed the pigeons. He is surrounded by birds which in turn leave droppings all over the playground equipment making it unhealthy for kids and children. But no, that wasn’t me. I merely would go out on my deck, judiciously dole out some peanuts, scraps of stale bread crust and an occasional serving of left over fish or chicken bones. I live in a wooded area and the birds come from the trees, eat and return to the woods or the ocean. But wouldn’t you know it!
Turns out some of those brazen birds did drop greetings on my neighbors’ house as they flew away! In fact once it happened just as a Realtor was opening the sliding deck doors door and splat, there on the deck it landed right at the feet of the potential buyers. As slow as the market is that raised the hackles of the neighbors but the icing on the cake occurred the next day. The woman they hired to clean house for them parked on the street under the phones lines in her shinny clean car and when the crows decided to have a quick meeting on the phone lines they gave her car a distinct spotted appearance!
But being a good neighbor I told them I’d find some other form of entertainment that wouldn’t mess with them and restricted my feeding to a small amounts occasionally on the east side of my house on trail that goes away from homes. I missed the birds of course and I’d like to think they missed me but today as I drove home and saw two moving trucks loading my neighbors furniture into them I knew it was only a matter of time I could resume feeding and whoever moved into the home would just have to deal with these coastal birds and their habit of eating and expelling the non-essential matter anywhere they deem suitable and after all the rainy season is approaching!