Saturday, February 17, 2007

Backyard Theatre Takes a Hitchcockian Turn

I created the birdgarden for P-dog after observing how much she seemed to enjoy watching the occasional songbird visit our little feeder. I added a second feeder and a cobalt birdbath, and read up on garden designs that were both bird-attractive and dog-friendly, planting lots of things with seeds and vines and flexible stalks and forgiving foliage and fibers that double as nest bedding and such. That, plus an established holly hedge and a lake park in the vicinity have yielded an afternoon like this one, with the dogz and I sitting (or pacing) at the window watching easily 200 (a conservative estimate) wildbirds of at least six or seven species devour a couple pounds of sunflower mix in, like, 2 hours.

A dozen birds pecking the ground is a cozy afternoon's entertainment around here. Winter and snow bring out the suet blocks, which reckless bluejays and unscrupulous squirrels sometimes release onto the ground--an event P-dog watches for with hawklike intensity (if I don't catch her in time she'll gobble enough suet to damage her pancreas, which means nothing to her except that she gets lots of yummy bread and crackers to soak up the crud).

But when the hungry hoards fill the birdgarden the dogz get territorial. Upside-down starlings look a lot like squirrels (evidently) and act just enough like them to get B-dog's adreneline rushing. As for P-dog, I think she's just peeved that the invaders are eating all her suet and seed and those nasty earthworms she likes to roll on.

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