If you have a dog, maybe he or she can help with the poem.
On the other hand, if you have a cat . . . you're probably on your own.
Two days ago, while out for a walk, I noticed how wonderful the air smelled. It smelled like nothing, which is just the way I like it. Cold. Clean. Easy to breathe. In summer, I find the heaviness of over-heated asphalt fumes, dust, humidity and higher air temperature is hard on my bronchial tubes.
I grew up - as many my age did - with a smoker. My father smoked at the table every night after supper, and I recall how the smoke always seemed to curl lazily right toward me, no matter where I sat. I might as well have been smoking too. It was annoying, but at the time I had no breathing issues, and indoor smoking was so common it wouldn't have occurred to me to question my dad's habit.
It's probably no wonder that I have bronchial issues now, even though I was rarely exposed to smoke after I left home forty years ago.
Anyway, air that smells like nothing is one reason that I love walking at this time of the year. Even the Fall can't compete because then someone is always burning something in their wood or pellet stoves. Why they worry so much about staying warm, I don't know! Don't they realize I can't BREATHE when they do that?? (Just joking.)
Some readers might remember that I started feeding the birds last spring. It lasted until I realized we were going to go bankrupt if I didn't stop. Right around the same time, there was also a bird virus that swept through the province, and people were advised to take down their bird feeders anyway.
In February of this year, I noticed some blue jays hanging around, and since the bird experts had given the all clear on feeding, and I still had some birdseed in the closet, I decided to set up shop again. Before long, the bluejays and several chickadee were dining regularly. But they ate so little that the feeder didn't need filled very often, maybe every third or fourth day.
Then all of a sudden, the newly-filled feeder was empty overnight. There was not even one seed left in the tray at the bottom, just a funny white residue which I thought must be from the rain or snow. Oh! I thought. I bet the crows found the seeds. Greedy things. And I filled it again, because I secretly don't mind if crows are greedy or not. Everybody has to eat.
Again, it was completely, utterly emptied overnight. This happened for several nights in a row. I couldn't catch the crows in the act.
Then it came to me - it wasn't crows eating the seed, it was deer. What would be enough seed for all the birds that come around this time of year is only a dainty appetizer for our nocturnal four-footed ruminant friends. And that would explain the funny white residue, too. Deer spit! Well ... everybody has to eat.
However, (according to some people) deer have become a nuisance in our town so we now have a by-law that says Thou Shalt Not Feed Wildlife, Except Birds Are Okay Because Nobody Has Complained About Them Yet. Now I have to figure out how to feed the birds without making the deer feel bad. Or continue to set out feed for the birds which then gets eaten by the deer who then get noticed by the neighbours who then call the authorities who FINE ME MANY DOLLARS.
Speaking of crows, I was lucky enough to see two crows breaking small branches off a tree yesterday. I could hear the branches cracking, and as I watched, one crow flew away with a forked branch as long as he (or she) was. I guess nest-building has begun and baby crows will not be far behind. It seems early to be getting started, but then again crows are probably not procrastinators like some other folks I know (cough*me*cough).
Can you see both crows?
I hope you all have a marvellous weekend, full of clean air and maybe wildlife sightings and poetry writing . . . and definitely NO fines :)
There's not a lot of clean air around where I am, far too much traffic, too many smokers and always something either blooming or mouldering away and I'm allergic to mould of course, as well as so many other things.
Probably a good idea to not feed those pesky deer, you don't want them turning up with picnic blankets and cutlery.
As I have never been to Nova Scotia I know nothing about Nova Scotian birdlife and indeed deerlife so I am not really qualified to comment upon your dilemma Jennyo. However, I tentatively suggest hanging the bird food high up in a tree. I guess you will require a ladder.
Hi Jenny, I could tell there would be a ban on smoking indoors. It had reached the stage where young kids had become passive smokers when my lad asked for a packet of woodbine to go with his pop. Only joking. It had become a joke though, but something had to be done about it..And it was.i’m not someone who is anti-smoking - just don’t do it in front of kids is all I say. Don’t ruin their life like you ruin your own.
"I secretly don't mind if crows are greedy or not. Everybody has to eat."
There has got to be a bird feeder that somehow has invented that stops deer. Somewhere. Maybe Google knows.
Yes, I grew up with a smoking dad, then a smoking workplace. Cigarette smoke permeated the atmosphere. We didn’t notice because we were used to the air smelling like that. It was not till the 90’s when things changed dramatically and people smoking around others became unacceptable. Today, when I see someone who is smoking outside, the smell is so offensive that I hold my breath to get past them.
There are lots of birds around here because the Retired Man feels that it is his duty to feed all the birds that pass by the state of Pennsylvania. Most of the food goes to the squirrels, raccoons, and deer though. The bird food bill rivals our own.
No shortage of pre Spring activity in your area...from 'stealth' attacks by the deer to crows ripping your trees apart.
I was going to guess flying squirrel on your disappearing bird seed. You certainly have to put your feeders up to stop the deer.
I hung my feeders in a tree. Anything that couldn't fly had to play groundskeeper.
No deer here. Newfoundland doesn’t have them either. I miss not knowing them.
Hahahaha! No, that would be a dead giveaway :)
Yes, that's partly why I hung it from the deck - it's the better part of a storey off the ground and I was only thinking of cat deterrence . . . also, I wanted to be able to see the birds from my kitchen window. I need a new plan.
That's right. Although when I was a kid, we didn't know how badly it could actually ruin a life. At that time, all we had was cigarette companies telling us - it's cool, trust me . . .
Or I could hang it in a tree, as Yorkshire Pudding suggested!
Hahaha! Well, your Retired Man sounds like he has a soft heart, which is a good thing :)
It was pretty impressive how easily the crow wrenched that branch off!
Awww, but then I feel bad for the deer :)
Maybe I'll just move away! That would solve everything!
But I don't have a nice sturdy teenager to go fill the feeder for me! Actually it wouldn't have been a problem this year but there have been recent winters where the snow in the back yard has been up to mid-thigh (on me).
I like the groundskeeper reference!
Would you like me mail a couple to you, Marie? Or courier them, perhaps? :)
Newfoundland has MOOSE . . . when I was young I didn't think there was much difference between deer and moose; now I know better!
I love your outdoor photos and your sense of humor...I'm sure Lukas would run from a Moose...Happy weekend.
Oh, thank you, e . . . I'm glad. And trust me, EVERYONE should run from a moose - they are unsociable and untrustworthy and BIG.
Moose are huge. You can maybe get the feeders away from the deer, but the squirrels will get them every time, it seems.
-Doug in Oakland
Yep, if I put the feeder in the trees, I'm pretty sure the squirrel(s) we sometimes see here will become permanent fixtures.
HAHAHA! The cat image...and the comment about crows and procrastination... Found myself coughing a little, too :)
I know that nothing smell you are referring to. That clean, sharp, breathable, lovely winter air. I love it. You don't get too much of that these days, especially when you're living in a city.
Since we're close in age, I too grew up around many, many smokers. I even became one at some point but thankfully finally quit it. Back then just about everyone smoked. There was a doctor my mom used to take us kids to when we were young and he smoked in his office while he spoke to my mom after he examined us. Then he'd take a puff of his cigarette and look at us and say "Don't ever smoke. Nasty habit." LOL You can't make this stuff up!
Thanks as always for the wonderful weekend wishes. I hope you have a wonderful one as well. I am looking forward to clean air and warmer weather. We just got hit with another winter storm. Ugh.
I was also going to guess that the seed culprits were squirrels, and the first thing I thought to keep the seed from the deer was too hang the feeder high but that would just fall into the squirrels wheelhouse...everybody has to eat I suppose :)
I know what you mean about clean, crisp winter air. All the same, I'm over it! I'm ready for the smells of springtime!
I can't imagine the town would fine you for inadvertently feeding deer. Surely demonstrated intent would have to be part of any prosecution or fine. After all, you can't help it if the deer outsmart your bird feeder, can you?!
Your post reminds me of the Jan Brett book, "Annie and the Wild Animals". You are sweet to want to feed them all. My stepmom has a bird feeder outside her sliding glass doors and I love to watch the different kinds of birds it attracts. One of her feeders is a hummingbird feeder and they are really interesting.
That is so funny - "do as I say, not as I do," right? And a doctor, of all things!
You folks have had a hard winter - the second in a row if I remember right about last year. It really makes a person appreciate spring, I will say!
But my question is, does everybody have to eat bird seed?! It clearly says "BIRD" seed on the bag; maybe I need to hang the bag outside too so the squirrels and deer will see it! hah
Except it would be ME that the deer were outsmarting, and that might be worse than a fine! ha ha
It's amazing what birds will show up when you hang a bird feeder out. We've had birds come to the feeder that I never even knew existed in our area.
Hummingbirds are extra-special - and so elusive if you don't have a feeder.
Talk about smoke at home, I'm surprised I wasn't dead by age of 15, lol. My Mum and Dad smoked like chimneys and we often had to open the door of the lounge to let the smoke out, you couldn't see across the room. All this was never questioned was it?
Luckily I seem to have escaped unscathed and funnily enough have never smoked myself.
It was so common back then - very different now! I'm glad you had no lasting effects and it's good that you didn't pick up the habit. I was watching an old game show on YouTube recently and was shocked to see the host smoking!
Ah breathing in fresh soothing environment is blessing we take granted often Jenny
i am happy you felt the lightness of beautiful weather and chiliness of breeze .
my father smoked after each meal and mom asked him to do it in front yard instead of room where we were sitting.
later when we grew young we asked father to quit smoking but he did not though he cared for our objection to smoke near us.
Here crows are in abundance than any other species of bird so feeding bird is quite hard because crows attack as they will took away the home along (so many crows) so we find it easy to put left overs or any other grains spread outside on any empty place where they can eat without making mess or beating other cute birds.
this winter when when a man (labour) cut the long branches of our Neem tree we saw the huge nest of crows built up of iron wires and we were amazed to see the carnation of those clever creatures .
yes i can see the both crows here so well ,great shot!
hope you will take good care of yourself dear friend!
A nest of iron wires - that is amazing! They are strong creatures, but that still surprises me! You are smart to feed the birds separately so everyone will get something and the smaller birds will not suffer.
My father didn't quit smoking until he was a lot older. It contributed to his breathing problems when he was older, no doubt about it. But people didn't know that back in the 1940s to 1970s. And many people were hooked on cigarettes by then.
Take care also, baili my friend!
Deer spit! Now that's something I wouldn't have expected. I haven't put out any bird feeders because apparently bears find them very attractive, too... and I don't find bears attractive at all in person. (Only in photos. Taken by other people.)
Yikes - well at least deer don't try to have you for lunch! I don't think I'd be hanging any bird feeders if I were you, either! Do you have to take any precautions when you're out and about on your property?
We haven't had any ursine visitors in the yard since our deer fence went up; but it's only because the bears have been too lazy to push through the fence (so far). If they wanted to get through it, that pagewire would be as effective as tissue paper. I often hear them snorting in the woods nearby and I'm definitely cautious whenever I'm out. I usually carry bear spray and noisemakers and a walkie-talkie if I'm going to be farther away than a hundred-yard dash to the house. So far, so good...
OH MY. Are you SURE you want to live there?!
As the old joke goes, you don't need any of that stuff as long as you go with a friend who can't run as fast as you can :)
LOL! True. Time to invite some houseguests over...
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