Bird seed wars

My husband has declared war on the woodpecker. I thought it’d be an easy win for him, he’s larger and has higher intelligence, but it hasn’t turned out that way. Birds are sneaky.

The entire issue started a couple of weeks ago when we noticed that the bird seed wasn’t just decreasing, it was disappearing at alarming rates. The level was dropping in front of our very eyes so quickly we feared there was a hole in the container.

I went out in the cold and inspected the container. Nope. No hole but the seed was all in piles under the feeder. One day of obsessive feeder-watching revealed the culprit: the woodpecker.

Turns out that colourful bird only eats one of the seeds in the entire mix. Since that seed is rare in the feed, he digs with his specially designed beak, throwing away the rest, unconcerned about waste. Once he finds the one he wants, he leaves.

Once my husband found out what was going on, he declared war. He muttered some dark curses and, while I replenished the feeder, he concocted a plan. His Napoleon-worthy strategy consisted of sneaking behind Groucho the tree until he spotted the woodpecker and then running out of the house like a mad person, shouting loud enough to wake up Tutankhamun. This not only scared the woodpecker, it also freaked out every other bird, our dog, myself and even Groucho the tree. But my lovely husband was convinced this was the way. Apparently, shouting British threats at the top of one’s lungs, is a certain way to ensure PTSD in birds.

It’s been two days of full out war and there are casualties. My husband has almost lost his slippers twice (they went flying into the snow when he ran out of the house), he almost fell on the ice and he stubbed his toe with the door.

The only one who seems to have come out of this unscathed is the woodpecker. He’s still in there, digging away at the seeds. In fact, I swear, I think he’s smiling.

Birds are cheeky.

(credit:airnavigationinstitute.blogspot.com)

(credit:airnavigationinstitute.blogspot.com)

Brr….it’s cold

The weather said it would be cold. Well, they weren’t kidding. It’s -13 C if you’re not in the wind and -27C if you are. Cold enough for even the hardiest Canadians.

It's one of those super clear, crisp days.

It’s one of those super clear, crisp days.

It’s cold out. It’s cold enough, when you breathe in, your nose sticks shut. Instead of just steaming out, your breath forms a cloud that immediately dissolves. The cold hits you and soaks into your clothes, skin and face immediately giving you a headache. I don’t know if these pictures give it justice…but trust me, you wouldn’t want to go skinny dipping in our river today…if it’s not frozen solid.

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The snow doesn’t just crunch. It’s frozen as well into tiny granules that fly away. It won’t even stick to itself. Not a good day to make a snowman.

Poor little birds are fluffing out their feathers trying to keep the warm air in.

Poor little birds are fluffing out their feathers trying to keep the warm air in.

 

 

The birds are eating like crazy. In this cold, they burn a lot more energy than normal and they’re mowing through our feed.

Fluffy Tail herself looking wistfully out the window.

Fluffy Tail herself looking wistfully out the window.

Ocean was set and determined to go outside today and I let her…for a little bit. I know akitas are designed for the cold, I know you can leave them out for the entire winter…I just worry. Plus, I like her with me. She’s got a busy schedule indoors keeping up with the birds and watching me write this post.

Ocean and her window

one customer who doesn't mind the paparazzi

one customer who doesn’t mind the paparazzi

We feed the birds. And they eat. In fact, they’re eating so much, we’re refilling that feeder at least once a week.

They’re not shy either. We walk right by them to get in the house and not only do they not fly away, they continue eating. Some do stop and give us a look, but most keep chomping away. As you can tell by the picture and how close I was when I took it, we don’t intimidate them. They’ve sort of decided the feeder is theirs and they mostly ignore the humans who walk by.

Ocean finds them fascinating. She loves the window. It’s a very tall one and she can sit on the ledge and stare outside all day. And she does…until the sun falls on her and she gets too hot and then asks to go outside where it’s minus 17 Celcius. To cool off.

At first, when she didn’t understand how the window works, Ocean would get all worked up over the birds. So would the birds. It seemed they didn’t appreciate having a hairy dog staring at them while they were eating.

Time has healed all wounds, however. Now, both Ocean and the birds have reached a peaceful agreement. The birds have agreed to ignore Ocean completely and she, in turn, has agreed to continue to watch them eat.

Ocean looking out the window. Her favourite pastime.

Ocean looking out the window. Her favourite pastime.

Miss Fluffy Tail herself.

Miss Fluffy Tail herself.

Isn’t she beautiful?

I thought I’d get a picture of her Fluffiness. And this is the best I could do with our very wiggly Ocean. If you think that tail is fluffy, you should see it when she wags it. It waves back and forth like some sort of hairy version of a cheerleading pom pom.