I am considering bird feeding options. I would love to have some cardinals visit our small south yard this winter. They do anyway, but I want to encourage them to linger a while and refresh themselves. I stopped in at a wild bird and pet shop to look over some of the products. I was pretty much appalled at the prices. Suburban homeowners around here spend a lot of money on their yards. I am only an unemployed renter, so I’m going the DIY route. We have a weathered old wicker chair frame and a CD storage chest that have been sitting outside for a few seasons. I’ve decided to try to build a feed station using them. Recycling, don’t ya know. So I went online to read up on bird feeders and squirrels. There seems to be a conflict among humans as to the desirability of squirrel activity in proximity to our dwellings. They are amazing animals who don’t mind being observed. They also have been known to move in with us humans and destroy property. I see squirrels in the trees and in the garbage around the duplex, but so far there haven’t been any signs of them moving into the attic and eating books. I want to keep it that way. I don’t think the squirrels need any assistance in finding food around here, so I’d like to provide a food that’s not attractive to them but will be attractive to cardinals and other song birds. I’ve read that safflower seeds may be just the thing. So this is my goal: to construct a platform feeder using the chair and storage chest parts and buy safflower seed for the winter. Then we’ll see what the birds and squirrels do.
Even if I didn’ t do a thing, I’d still have cardinals and squirrels as my neighbors. I doubt my project is going to make a difference in their survival over the winter. I don’t imagine that I have any role as a wildlife manager in this situation. I could pat myself on the back and say I’m being wildlife friendly, in a way. But it’s not that big a deal. I’m really only doing it for my own amusement. I often wonder at the decisions and efforts I’ve made to be eco-minded. For example, the online petitions and letters to my congressional representatives urging them to take certain actions on various pieces of legislation. Does that really make a difference? So far, I’ve noticed that it only generates more junk mail from Republican officials who write to thank me for my input and inform me that they have no intention of doing what I suggest. I could take the next step and send money to the originators of these petitions, but I have no income at this time and have therefore decided not to do that. I don’t know what effect that might have if I did. I have moments when my idealism dares me to hope great things, and then I have moments when my realism admits the futility of my individual efforts.
Making ripples that travel in unknown directions. Will we contribute to a tidal wave? Will we send a blessing bobbing toward a distant shore? We have no way to know. I do my best to have good intentions. I hope my Buddha smile makes the world a kinder place somehow.