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Keep a bird feeder by a window, ideally the kitchen. It’ll pass the time when you’re washing up.

The maternal side of my family enjoys feeding the birds. In the winter months, several feeders stood outside grandmother’s kitchen window. Beside the various-shaped feeders stood a little table of sorts upon which Grandfather impaled corn cobs to feed the squirrels. He also had a large tub of peanut butter from which he spread some on the tree trunks at eye level, so we could watch the squirrels pick it up and eat it. I think it was supposed to be a deterrent, so the birds could eat the seeds in peace. It may be he just enjoyed feeding squirrels as much as the birds.

Tip #9 has validity. I loved being indoors standing in the kitchen, which was warm and humid from the hot water emanating from the sink. I gazed out at the cold winter landscape with its feeders. It was always snowing then; all my winter memories are heavily frosted with falling snow. The feeders were capped with snow like toothpaste on a brush or fuzzy white hats. On cloudy snowy days, the snow almost had a blue/gray tone to it. In contrast were the blues of the jays, and the cardinals, bright as blood. They made a bold contrast to the white of the snow and the brown of the trees. I could have stood there for hours. I think I even found things to wash to spend more time at that window.

The desire to feed and watch birds must have a genetic component, for Father and none of my brothers ever cared for bird feeding. This was something I inherited from my mother’s side. To this day when I fill the feeders I think of her and her father.

Later in life when I had my own places I carried on the tradition of feeding the birds. I always started on the morning of Thanksgiving and continued until the spring time. My feeders were always near enough to the house that I could see them from the kitchen window or breakfast nook. Unlike my grandparents, I didn’t feed the squirrels but tried to discourage them. I learned this wasn’t possible and I gave up trying. After all, they have to eat too.

I don’t feed the birds anymore. I miss this. A lot. I tried it when I moved to Arizona but it doesn’t feel the same without a snowy blanket to wrap around the scene. From the kitchen window at La Casa de Spo the nearest tree is too far away to see much, and the mess that ensues falls not on grass but on concrete. I tried converting to feeding the hummingbirds, but found this a disappointment.

If I were ever to retire, I want it with a kitchen window outside of which I can erect and hang some feeders. I will pour in the sunflower seeds, return to the kitchen, and wait for the birds to return to me.

Do you feed the birds?

Do you do it only in certain seasons?

What do you do about the squirrels?

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