Sunday, November 11, 2007

The birds that work for Merry Maids

There I was in the "computer room" (third bedroom for the rest of the world), me on the laptop and the husband on the other computer with the 28" flat panel monitor (I ain't lyin', people, the thing looks like a drive-in movie screen) comparing the virtues of Fuji's itty-bitty camera with the other itty-bitty cameras -- besides, of course, that Overstock has it on sale and he has a 10% off coupon. I look up and see that two streaked sparrows have lit outside of the window, clinging to the brick, and have methodically begun to pull down spiderwebs and clean all the bugs and spiders out of them. Yum, yum. They're even reaching behind the shutters and cleaning all the webs out of the cracks.

This of course is a great service to me, since the one thing I can state about my house is that I have more spiders per square foot on this quarter acre than any other property I've owned. Well, I've also got gnats in the spring, but that's more of a regional thing -- anyway, I hate, hate, hate spiderwebs in the corners of the windows, and the way I clean them is to hold onto the tippy-end of a broom handle and try to fish them down while standing on the ground. Because ladders are pretty much a no-go with me. Too old, too clumsy, too fat. No. Just no. So anything that gets me out of this job is a Martha-Stewart-worthy very good thing. They finish with the third bedroom window and flit away, hopefully to the kitchen window because there's some really big webs in that one.

Besides being a great service, this is good because we, the cat and I, like to watch birds and lately I've been feeling guilty about the feeders in the back yard. Not about having the feeders or the cost of filling them, but about the fact that a hawk has scoped out my yard and figured out I have a higher than normal bird concentration. I've seen him circling and I saw him get one sparrow (on my patio, no less). He actually flew into my sliding door yesterday morning while I was sitting 6 feet away from it reading the web news. Scared the spit out of me -- made a huge bang. He was unhurt and flew away to perch in the dogwood and shake his head a little, like what the heck was that?

It's a bad thing to put the birds in danger's way just because we like to look at them, but I have to give the little feathered critters more credit. They've not been as plentiful in the last few days, like they know even with the veritable Shoney buffet out there it's not a safe place. We should probably put the feeders away for a month or so and let the hawk find another hunting ground. Hawk's gotta eat, but I would rather not have a relationship with his dinner.

In the meantime, the birds can check out my front porch light. I must have 20 pounds of bugs in there.

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