From my writing desk in the third bedroom, I look out upon my front lawn and the tatty old lamppost that was defunct when I bought this house three years ago. The post has a rung that sticks out of its side, and what this perch is intended for, I have no idea. But, after some pondering, I determined that the rung would provide an excellent place to hang a bird feeder. Other people feed the birds, I thought. Why can’t I?
One blazing autumn day, I bought a bird feeder at the local Meijer and filled it with a hearty mix of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit. Then, I sat back to wait for flocks of hungry birds to arrive, but none came. After reading the back of the seed bag, I realized that my location was totally wrong. The sidewalk and street are too close. There are no protective bushes in which to take refuge should predators arrive. All fall and into the winter, the feeder hung there, lonely and untouched.
But, one day in early January, I looked out to see that five or six birds were dancing around the feeder, landing on its pegs in quick succession. They would land, peck, jump, then shoot up into nearby trees. When they flew off, I was sure they were alerting their friends to the fact that they’d found a motherload of winter munchies. I felt the glow of success.
The bird feeder that hangs from my dead lamppost has become an avian gathering place. The only ones I can identify are the chickadees. For me, it is not so important to track what kinds of birds are coming to dine. I’m content just to know that my winged friends are finding sustenance here. I’m content just to know that my offering to these dear, fragile creatures has been received.