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Bird Poop

poo rail

The poo rail.

I have really enjoyed the bird feeder. I have especially enjoyed watching the mama birds wean their chicks these last couple of weeks. It has been quite a show. But now? Now everything is covered in bird poop. Everything. Even my plants. My plants!

The finches (there are now as many as eleven on the balcony at one time) finished the last feeder-full of seed in two days (pigs!) and I haven’t refilled it since. I’m not sure what to do. I love watching the birds – it makes me incredibly happy. But I don’t even want to sit out there now because there is bird crap all over everything. I’m going to have to clean it up and I am not happy about it. But I miss the birds! I’m torn. What to do?

Live Things

I’m always surprised when people are horrified by my love of dead things. Whenever someone comes over and I give them the tour of our apartment, the icing on the cake is always the mummified mice at St. Peter’s Gate  displayed in our bedroom. When I look at those mice, I see beauty. Their perfect little forms, tiny paws curled to silken whiskers, tails twisted and springing in mid-air, they are exquisite. Tiny sculptures formed by Mother Nature Herself. Which is why, even though it happens over and over, I am always surprised when my guest’s inevitable reaction is, “Ew. That is really gross. Are you okay?”

This is where I would like to assure everyone that I am not, in fact, some sort of psychopath. Honestly. I’m not interested in blood and gore. Photos of animals ripped up by cars make me cry. Animal cruelty is intolerable. I’m interested in the process of how our bodies go back to the earth. I’m interested in mummies. I’m interested in bones. And I’m not just interested in dead things. I’m also interested live things.

The following is a whole slew of pictures I snapped one afternoon while watching the birds at our feeder. (It is also an example of why I need an SLR.*)


The blur in the background, between the lantern and the bird feeder, is Atticus in flight.




How many birds can you see in this picture?**


Are you guys tired of bird pictures yet? Good! Because there are only 18 more to go. Just kidding. (Or am I?)


Look at them! I want to scoop them up and smother them in kisses! There’s four! And they’re all alive!

The joy that stupid bird feeder brings me is totally worth the fact that every surface of our balcony is covered with bird poop. It’s totally worth it. Totally worth it.

(At least dead things don’t poop.)

*I finally decided, by the way. I’m going to buy an SLR, but I’m not going to take it to Bolivia. I know it would take insane pictures, but I do not want that sh*t around my neck while I’m hiking. Do. Not. Want. It. More on that later.

**there are four! (One of them is not real.)


The weather has been so lovely that I’ve been able to spend my work days out on the balcony, the little dogs at my feet, and a family of house finches squabbling over my shoulder.  They don’t mind me at all. The big orange feeder full of black oil sunflower seeds is far too wonderful to ignore just because there is a large possible predator mammal sitting a mere three feet away.


This is Gertrude.  As in Stein, of course.  She’s a house finch and she is very brave. I call her mate Atticus (I have to thank Kate for that one) and I know he’s Gertrude’s mate because they always fly in together. But they never eat at the same time, oh no.  Gertrude is very particular and insists that Atticus wait on a nearby lantern while she and her best girlfriend Anastasia eat their fill.  Atticus isn’t particularly fond of this arrangement.  He gets impatient and will frequently drop off of the lantern, wings spread, toes aimed at the lip of the feeder. When Gertrude realizes he’s left his post (the nerve!) she flaps her wings furiously and squawks at him, sending him back to the lantern in a flurry of feathers. This will happen two or three times, he drops, she squawks and flaps, till finally she’s sick of it and follows him to the lantern, wings beating, squawk! Squawk! Squawk! Now he knows he’s in trouble so he flies to the next lantern, a little further away. Gertrude circles him once, squawks a final warning, and goes back to finish her meal. When I move to pick up my coffee, the females startle and fly off in a spray of seeds. Atticus will dart from the lantern to the lip of the feeder, just long enough to grab a mouthful of seeds before he’s off after the girls.

They have such lovely and complicated lives. Like us.

Or else I am totally anthropomorphizing.