I’m not much of a shopper, except when it comes to books … and music … and camping equipment … and tea … and birdfeeders.
I put out birdfeeders the way an art museum puts out paintings and sculptures. There always are more in storage than are on public view. I simply don’t have the space to put out all of the birdfeeders I’ve accumulated over the years. I mix and match the ones I have out, depending on what time of year it is, what sorts of birds I’m trying to attract, what mood I’m in.
It would stand to reason that with this excessive supply of feeders, I wouldn’t purchase any more. But reason doesn’t stand to the compelling logic of the shopping mentality, as you may know. The store was having a sale on feeders, so of course I bought one on Friday.
About most other commodities, sales don’t move me. After I went to the bird store, I visited a clothing store for an emergency purchase. I encountered a friend in the parking lot.
"Are you here for the big sale?" she asked.
I wasn’t there for the sale. I didn’t know about a sale. When I must shop for clothing, I carry it out as if it were a military operation: Get in, do the job, get out. Do it quickly. Keep casualties to a minimum.
When I shop for a birdfeeder, I browse, I ask questions, I get distracted by other intriguing bird-related items.
On this trip, my goal was a niger (aka thistle) feeder to supplement the thistle feeder I already have. That feeder hasn’t been getting much business. I cleaned it, I took a knife to the little holes to try to widen them a bit, I added sunflower chips to the niger. It gets occasional visits from chickadees and goldfinches, but they seem frustrated.
So I settled on the feeder shown above, which I’ve dubbed the cage. If it doesn’t attract birds, I could always empty it and use it to house a mouse or something. In its first couple of days, it has had a couple of tentative visits from chickadees. But a new feeder always takes time to prove itself to the birds.
A few other birds joined the chickadees today, albeit not on the cage. A couple of blue jays inspected the safflower platform feeder this morning. Later, a strange, finch-like bird with a clay-colored head perched on the safflower tube feeder. The bird book says there’s such a thing as a yellow variant of a house finch, and I decided that’s what it was. I don’t think it’s the same bird I saw and couldn’t identify the other day (see "Who Am I?"). Finally, a nuthatch dropped by, the first nuthatch I’ve seen in many weeks.
Are the birds getting ready for autumn?