I have a love/hate relationship with birds. On the whole, they are not ábad animals, but I have mixed feelings about just how up-close and personal I want to be with any member of the species. Allow me to explain.
I came from a rather split background on the subject. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my Grandpa and Grandma Rodgers. My grandma seemed to love birds. She had bird feeders up all around the outside of the house. On more than one occasion, she tried to nurse a wild bird back to health after being injured.
This love was shared by Grandma’s two sisters, Gladys and Flossie. They were spinsters and lived together their whole lives. Gladys and Flossie had a house not too far away from my grandparents, so when we weren’t at Grandma’s house, we were at my great aunt’s. Around the same time, my grandma and Gladys each got a pet bird. Grandma’s bird was named Blueberry because it had blue feathers. I am pretty sure it was a canary, but all I can say for sure was it was small and lived in a cage in the dining room.
Gladys had a yellow bird named Perky, and he loved his name. Whenever you called him, he would chirp, squawk and flutter his wings in delight. It was great for Flossie. She had lost her eyesight many years before, and even though she couldn’t see the shiny golden feathers of Perky’s tail, she could enjoy his song instead.
As a child, I would love to help make Perky sing for my great aunts. I don’t remember Blueberry being as vocal, but grandma sure loved to talk to him, trying to make him sing. Unfortunately, all three sisters have passed away, but their pet birds will always have a fond place in my heart because of these three women who taught me so much in my youth.
My mother’s side of the family has an entirely different view on birds. My Grandma Bushong loves watching the cardinals, blue jays, hummingbirds, etc. from the windows of her farmhouse. However, she would never dream of bringing one in the house. My mother makes no bones about her dislike of the animal, but it is never malicious. She likes looking at the birds with her mom, but you will never find her using anything to intentionally attract them to the house.
I definitely lean more toward my Grandma Bushong’s view of the animal. As I walk around town, or look at birds from the house or car, I mentally identify any of the birds I recognize (my second grade teacher would be proud). As much as I enjoy bird watching, I would never bring one into the house. While I remember Blueberry and Perky with a fondness, I also remember the mess they made of anything that was in or near their cage. I would much rather enjoy the birds outside in their natural element.
I recently outfitted our back deck with a small bird feeder. It hung on the hook for a few weeks, untouched by any of the local feather creatures. I was still hopeful it would eventually attract a winged wonder, so I left it in its place, undeterred. I was home for lunch one afternoon, and I glanced out the kitchen window to see a flock of sparrows enjoying the feed inside the plastic cylindrical tube. I did a little happy dance. The bird feeder wasn’t a complete failure.
My goal next year is to put up a few more and bring different types of birds into our yard. If I see a blue or yellow winged bird at my deck, I’m sure they were sent from Grandma or Great-Aunt Gladys to say hello. á
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