Back Yard Birds; Trying to get something for nothing

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.

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