Loving the sounds of Mother Nature

If you ever have the extreme privilege of having a swarm of hysterical songbirds attack your position, consider yourself blessed! I had that experience earlier this spring, at my friend’s house during the Spring Gobbler season.

Even though Joanie and I had planned to get out hunting together at least a few times, the very day after I arrived, her mother had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital and was there for the next two weeks. Since her mother is in the last stages of Alzheimers, Joanie felt she had to stay with her mother in the hospital because her mother requires round-the-clock care and there are not enough nurses to do that, she says. She sleeps in a chair in the hospital room.

So I stayed at her house alone, but because of almost daily rain, and my own bad knee that limited my climbing abilities, I treated myself in another way to nature’s wildlife show.

Every morning at 5 a.m. I was stationed on the little sofa on Joanie’s front wrap-a-round porch, coffee I hand, so I could witness the wildlife parade that showed up every morning at dawn. I wrote about a lot of this a few weeks ago but there was one thing I just didn’t have room to include then but which turned out to be most memorable.

Bird feeders are stationed all around her porch including several hanging from the rafters. At first light, the birds began to fly in to the feeders. But alas, there was nothing in any of them. Joanie (I later found out) had intended to fill them all before bedtime but her mother’s illness swept it from her mind.

So there I sat, birds swooping around on the porch all around me and not a seed to be found. At first I didn’t realize what was the matter with these birds as they began to get more and more aggressive, buzzing me and squawking and screeching noisily.

Soon birds of all kinds were flying around and around in the yard, each of them screeching crazily and that’s when I wondered: have these feathered nuisances gone crazy or what?

For an hour, the hysteria grew and I realized I was watching a bunch of birds having temper tantrums. By then I could see what was the matter, so I got up and searched the house over but could not find any bird seed.

The birds got more and more hysterical as the hours passed. Flying in to buzz my head, standing in the feeders, screaming and cackling, fighting each other to be the first at the feeder each time they came by to check. It was a bird panic and the first one I ever witnessed.

It confirmed to me the fact that wildlife professional tell us: that if you serve up food to any wild creature on a consistent basis they expect it to be there every day at that time. And these songbirds were truly indignant that they were made to wait for their birdseed. What do forest birds do for food? How do they get along? Well, they grub for worms and insects and fruits and berries and wild seeds of all kinds.

This is the reason why people feed bears. They love to observe them from a distance so they put out bait in the same places every day. Then at night or in the evening, they observe these bears. Some think they are tame and then do really stupid things, like trying to get their own children to hand-feed them cookies or ice cream so they can take photos.

Bears hand-fed by humans generally turn out to be the most dangerous bears. They become dependent on these handouts. When you are in the woods and happen to run across a traveling bear, you may be in for a big surprise when the bear comes for you, expecting his goodies.

And if you toss him the peanut butter and jelly sandwhich you have with you and he eats it in one big gulp and then turns to you again, expecting more, what then?

So it was with those angry birds on the porch that early morning. Their aggressive behavior was their attempt to urge me to get up and fill those feeders. They got louder and more frantic as the minutes passed. I fled back into the house in self-defense and did not go out again until those feeders were filled.

Apparently my ever present squadron of guardian angels were convulsed with laughter watching that whole scenario. They knew I wasn’t in danger of my life so they just let it go on and on.