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Fishing in Public

For the Birds

by | Jul 10, 2022

Hey, folks. Sorry being a bit tardy writing to you. I’ve been having some rough personal problems come my way lately. No sense to dwell on my troubles, though. That’s not in the picture. What’s in the picture is this…

I was reading the Maine Sunday paper, the “Parade” section, and it had a big feature on conservation. Let me take a second and remind you that I started the Three for One Club, which everyone in the world can join. ’member? One trip to the beach, three pieces of trash to the trash receptacle? Why, sure you do. Well, we’re going a step further now. 

You know you can learn something every day, and on that Sunday I surely did. I learned there are not enough of the birds called shore sparrows. They have really dwindled. A lot of it must be loss of habitat. 

Now, the thing is, you can’t say this bird is more important than that one, but the sparrows are definitely big-time important. Christ, we could be at war with them rotten horseflies that give you the ol’ wake-up bite. Kinda hard to forget them rascals. The sparrows eat them for breakfast.        

The shrinking of the sparrows’ habitat boils down to this: we people have to step in and help. So how? Birdhouses. The poor guys got a big housing shortage. That will be my objective: to make some birdhouses. By jingo, we’ll save them little fellas! 

I’m also gonna give you folks some bird words so’s you’ll be able to communicate with your bird pals. Chirp, chirp. Either of those words can be repeated, and the volume is up to you. And tweet, tweet — always a fave with the younger set. All these words should be accompanied by a whistle. 

And it’s always a good idea to talk to the birds in your own language, too. Do it while you feed ’em — man, they love it! We don’t just leave a birdhouse dangling in nature. We’ll put in some welcoming food to greet them once they enter. You know, when I was a young’un and we moved into a different neighborhood, some local ladies brought us a bag of food — a welcome thing. We can do the same for the birds!  

And about food — I think they’ll eat any ol’ thing you give ’em. I’ll be generous with the birdseed, and maybe some little nuts or raisins. Course, you may wish to get fussy and check with someone who knows something about bird diets. I recently saw an episode of The Andy Griffith Show that had an important tip. If you’re feeding the babies, use tweezers. That’s so you won’t get human smell on ’em, which can turn the bird parents right off, and the same applies to any species of critters. 

Our birdhouse-building team consists of Marcy, my co-pilot in the Three for One Club, and Joey, who’s in charge of Design & Production. He knows what he’s damn well doin’! Joey’s come up with a bit of wood that needs to be reused: the bottoms of bureau drawers. Perfect for birdhouses. 

So far we’re getting nothing but positive feedback, and when other folks see the houses we’ve made I expect more than double the encouragement. We have three all made and ready to hang. Those are made from plastic coffee containers. You take a tool — whatever you got that’d work best for you — and carve a hole for “in” and “out.” Exercise caution: you don’t want the hole too big for varmints, crows, weasels and such to get in. Then don’t forget the sittin’ poles — use a pencil or anything else you got sittin’ around.

Joey assures me we’ll have two more woodies tomorrow. I’m starting to wonder if I should make arrangements for the birds to drop off their security deposits (bird humor). I was gonna nail the houses to a tree, but Joey came up with a better idea: recycling clothes hangers. You probably got too many in your closet, don’t ya? That’s a much easier way to install ’em in a tree. 

Now comes the exterior design. You might care to paint them or otherwise make ’em look real smart. The coffee containers we got are red already, but you can change ’em up no problem. I believe I’ll decorate the outside with pictures of little birds. Or even better — a bird clad in a hot bikini!  

We got fortunate in that shore sparrows are small birds, so they only need small houses. Thank goodness seagulls don’t need houses. They do make a small nest, I guess — a little seaweed and scrubby little plants is all they need. You can say they live on the fly.        

It’s nice to be actually doing something instead of just talking. I hope you folks out there are following in my footsteps. We could have plenty of birds with these pads.

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