Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Christmas Tree for the Birds

Take some branches that fell in the yard. Stick them into an unused flower pot (pour in a few gallons of hot water to thaw the frozen dirt if you need to-- hey, it worked). Buy a jar of peanut butter just for this task (scroll down to see why you don't want to use the same jar you plan on using for sandwiches). Give the kiddos butter knives and instructions to cover some branches in peanut butter (it ain't as easy to do as you might think-- ask James how many globs of peanut butter got away from him).

Grab a handful of birdseed. Cup your hand around the peanut buttered branches. See how much bird seed you actually get on the peanut butter (once again, it ain't as easy as you might expect-- could have dipped the coated branches into a plate of bird seed, but that wouldn't have been as much fun, ya know!).

Note to starlings who were stealing the cat food yesterday-- check the ground under the bird seed tree for some extra goodies (and please leave Moochie's chow for her to eat! and by the way, you are birds, she is a cat, ain't ya just a little skeered of hopping around in her territory?).

There ya have it, a Christmas tree for the birds. Hopefully, some of them will like it. I'm hoping the smaller birds will be able to land on the branches and get some chow. I'm not sure about the bigger birds, but hey, they can always steal the cat food :)

I'm not a birdwatcher, by any stretch of the imagination, at least I didn't think of myself that way until I read How to Be a (Bad) Birdwatcher by Simon Barnes. Talk about a fun weekend read! It isn't chock full of specific information, but it is chock full of Barnes' attitude and humor and stories about birdwatching. What you take away from reading it is an enthusiasm for just looking at birds and starting to learn a few that you don't already know.

Barnes starts out by reminding you that you already know many different birds. What?? Me?? Yes, you. You know ducks. You know cardinals. You know eagles. You know swans. You get the point. Then, he gleefully reassures you that you will never be able to identify all of the bird species in your part of the world. . . and that's okay. Just have fun, enjoy the birds, learn a few at a time, and be a "bad" but enthusiastic birdwatcher.

I like this attitude. I'll let you know if I catch a glimpse of any birds at their Christmas tree today. . . and you can rest assured the starlings will be here to snitch a bit of cat chow.

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