I never really considered feeding the birds. I am an avid gardener, outside spring through fall. I always tried to plant gardens that were ecologically sound: use plants that worked for our zone, hosted beneficial insect larvae, and yes, produced fruit and shelter for birds. But ultimately I figured the birds were on their own. Nature would take care of itself.
Birding (yes, it’s a verb) seemed to be split into two camps:
Hardcore fanatics with super high-powered binoculars tromping through the underbrush and retired people who just liked to watch the birds flitter around in their backyard. I was neither of these people. I had too many other hobbies and not enough time to mess around with nature’s flying poop machines.
However, there is another group of people who love to watch and feed birds.
And I now have two of them. At ages 4 and 7 nature is a fascinating, weird, funny, and sometimes gross showcase of action. Worms are cool. Butterflies are crazy. Squirrels are hilarious. And birds are…starving. Wait, what?
“Daddy, it’s cold outside. The birds need some food.”
“They’ll be fine, kiddo.”
“No they won’t. They can’t get to the worms because of the snow. What do they eat in the winter?”
“Uh, seeds that are still on the plants from the fall and…other…things…?”
So the next day there was a red-netted seed bell hanging from the maple outside and two satisfied kids inside. They would watch from the window, keeping their uninterested dad updated on who was eating, how much the bell was shrinking, how there were two funny squirrels eating the seed, maybe we should get another feeder.
Wait, did you say squirrels?
Release the hound! I’m not feeding the !!*#*&!* SQUIRRELS here, I’m feeding birds! We need one of those squirrel-proof models! I’m not buying seed just so those yard rodents can get fat on-
Stop. I said it, didn’t I? Yes. I AM FEEDING THE BIRDS. I have become a bird-feeder. My destiny is chosen. Add a new demographic to the list of species fanatics, retirees, and little nature lovers: pushover parent. But let’s be honest, I do kind of like watching those birds flitter around in the backyard.