I have chickadee issues.
That’s right…problems with chickadees. Little gray-and-white birds with black caps that call out their name incessantly in case you need reminding, hang upside-down from branches while they look you in the eye, and eat your sunflower seeds from sunup ‘til sundown with the jaunty confidence that as soon as they’ve polished off the current 50-pound bag of free eats, you’ll happily dash away to the feed store and purchase another for their continued dining pleasure.
It doesn’t help that they’ve speculated correctly and have you pegged to rights. Or that you both know it.
Neither is it something a riverbank blogger likes to admit to his readership—not when he’s spent all these posts trying to convince them of his vast and consummate outdoor skills, his mystical oneness with nature, and the fact he possesses a disposition so wise and gentle and forgiving that he’s the one and only Protestant on St. Francis of Assisi’s speed dial, the guy the old monk regularly defers to for a quick consultation on wildlife matters.
Nevertheless…I have chickadee issues.
My vexation with these cheery little grub-munchers is where they’ve lately decided to do their eating…which happens to be while perched upon a certain small dead limb of my box elder tree. Yes, the limb is near the feeder—I’d estimate perhaps three yards as the chickadee flies, and quite handy to the wire basket holding the snacks. The problem is, this convenient limb is located almost directly above my deckside rocker. The place where I like to sit, have a snack of my own, and watch the river roll along while various feathered residents eat, sing, and have a merry old time in the nearby bushes and trees.
Now, the chickadees bring their chosen seed to this convenient limb above and just to the left of my chair, they peck the seed open and extract the meat, and the hulls of the seed fall onto the deck. Pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter. Messy, really messy. But that’s not the worst—the worst, and I’ll try and be delicate here, is that chickadees aren’t house broken, or tree broken. So they sit comfortably a few feet above my head, eat like gangbusters, throw their empties every which way and poop…and poop…and poop.
What goes in comes out, a pound’s worth of seeds daily or more, and most of it comes out to fall— gravity seldom taking a holiday—right by where I sit. Not directly on my rocker, but mighty, mighty close.
It didn’t used to be this way. The chickadees and I had an understanding. I would buy the seeds, put them in the basket feeder, hang the feeder where they had a nice big box elder tree with thousands of potential perching limbs; they'd eat and throw their leftover seed hulls wherever, and poop—anywhere except smack over my deck.
Thus it has heretofore been, until a couple of weeks ago…and thus it must become once more.
I’m getting tired of sweeping and hosing off the deck. I’m not relocating my rocking chair. And I don’t particularly want to saw off the suddenly-convenient limb.
So I’m issuing fair warning to all offending chickadees…cease and desist forthwith, or I will comb the Internet for chickadee recipes. And don’t bank on help from on high, either. Should St. Francis try and intervene on your behalf, I’ll see his number on caller I.D. and refuse to answer.
Sit somewhere else or suffer the consequences!