Why are you putting the dog food in a tree? How would you feel if I put the coffee maker on the roof?
Over the years my dog has had many occasions to puzzle over a variety of my behaviors, from the bafflingly inexplicable to the despicably unfair. From why do I go to all the trouble of carefully picking all the cat poops out of the box when I'm just going to throw them away, to why won't I let him do it and keep them from going to waste? He has always weathered my various transgressions of logic and compassion with grace and patience, but this time I think I might just have snapped his doggy zen clean in two.
I started to notice that neighbours on the end of my block always have a swarm of chickadees on the tree in their front yard. I'm a big fan of birds who have the fortitude to winter up here on the fifty-stupidst latitude, and there aren't many. For all their noise and mess, you really appreciate the sight of a crow or a magpie when it's the only living thing for miles not wearing a parka, and they are pretty much the only things you do see around at this time of year. Them and the chickadees. Now it's one thing for a bird the size of a guinea pig to tough things out, but it's downright awe inspiring when a critter with legs like guitar strings and less meat in it's shell than a pistachio nut hunkers down and takes it like a Canadian. I do so love and admire chickadees.
Geese, on the other hand, are despicable traitors. Don't even talk to me about geese. Enjoy Florida, you cowards. Hope you don't get heat stroke under all that fat you got from eating our grain during the short growing season. Geese are the animal kingdom equivalent of unwelcome relatives who overstay their welcome, drink all the booze, don't clean up after themselves and never offer to chip in for anything.
Okay. I wasn't going to get started on geese, but I did and now I'm done. It's out of my system now, and that's probably for the best.
Long story short, I decided that I wanted chickadees in my yard too. Careful observation led me to conclude that the containers hanging from the tree where they gather likely hold some sort of an attractant, so I took my little theory to an expert. My boyfriend. His qualifications as an expert are extensive: he has a really big yard.
My theory was confirmed. Those little containers hold a substance known as bird food. Fortunately my boyfriend is also an expert in another subject I'm largely ignorant about: grocery shopping. He's been in aisles I've never even heard of. He's purchased pasta products that contain neither macaroni or cheese, soup that takes longer than three minutes to cook and, yes indeed, food that was developed specifically for birds to eat.
It was right by the cat food. I'd bet money that stock clerk put family planning next to the baby food aisle, too. Listening to canned, 80's pop music forty hours a week can turn a mind to very dark thoughts.
It turns out that one of the favourite foods of these tiny, delicate little creatures is suet. I must say when I learned that my admiration for them increased exponentially. Why, they scarcely look able to intimidate a fruit fly, and here it turns out they dine on cattle! I'm not sure how they manage to secure this favourite food stuff in areas that are not equipped with pet food aisles, but if I'm ever near a cliff and see a cloud of them darkening the sky I'm going home.
So my dog and chickadees have something in common. Oh the joy that spread across his little doggy face when I unwrapped the stuff. Oh the spring in his step when we exited the house and took it out into his yard.
Oh the face that will haunt me in my dreams forever when we hung it out of his reach.
It's been out there for two days now, and the chickadees haven't touched it. Might have something to do with the hundred pound carnivore guarding it around the clock, coupled with the fact that there don't happen to be any steep cliffs around this end of the trailer park.
12 hours ago