To quote the 1966, political sci-fi novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Heinlien:
TANSTAAFL! There aint no such thing as a free lunch!
What a creative move by our noisy back yard bird friends. It seems they’ve supported a study to prove that the feline domesticus are hazards. I’m sure of it- no study required. They call cats European imports, they didn’t mention that many of the birds that frequent our back yards are too.
An NY Times article on the study: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/science/21birds.html?_r=1
Did the birds really think that this veritable paradise would come without cost? Without risk?
My back yard is inviting. I have two different flavors of suet, lots of sunflower seeds, dried blood worms and thistle (if you’re nasty). For those wanting something different, I’ll occasionally feature a wild bird seed mix. I even have a clean bird bath to freshen up on those hot summer days.
Here is what the kids and I get out of it:
The Scene: I appreciate the sound and sights on a great range of southern birds. The angry mockingbird, the squealing cat bird, the vibrant cardinals and golden finch.
The lessons we share:
Life: It’s harsh. Not long ago ‘Daddy Finch’ was plucked from the sky by some type of predator bird, a hawk I think. He pinned Daddy Finch down then flew off with him, while both of our families (his and mine) watched. We were having breakfast – so was the hawk.
Life: It’s a miracle. We watched as several finch and bluebird broods were laid, hatched and raised. The kids (chicks) grew to eventually do the same.
Life: The strong survive. Every once in a while, my cat will get lucky and score a bird. The bird victim must have been weak or gotten caught not paying attention, my cat lacks skills and I’ve stacked the odds against him.
I keep my cat lazy and well fed, a bell on his collar unless he pries it off, and beat him if he goes after the nest or the young.
Its a fair trade I think. Visiting my bird resort has risks.
A message to the birds: Come. Come and eat. Be bold, be cunning, but don’t be foolish.
Nothing in life is free, not birdseed, facebook or even health care.