Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Karla's Kolumn: Bird Watching

A few years ago we set up a bird feeder at the back of our house, which made the birds and our cats very happy.

At first my husband was frustrated that the cats would stalk their prey, sometimes being successful and other times not.

I told him not to get mad at the cats for being cats.

I think the biggest issue is the one cat, Buddy, would bring his feast to the front porch, and that's just something you don't want to see walking out of the house in the morning.

I do feel sorry for the birds but then let's be real, they bring this on themselves. They are messy eaters and ungrateful.

They will fly in, sample and fly off. You hear them chatter with the other birds, not knowing if they are giving it an "A" rating or warning off the other birds. It doesn't seem to scare any of them off though so it must be good grub.

Some fly in and you see them tossing the food down onto the ground. If they stayed up high the cats could not reach them but if they are going to dine on the ground, well then they become dinner rather than having dinner, sad to say.

These creatures, which are not tame, learn quickly.

When I come out the back door, whether to change the water, just to sit on our bench on the porch or enjoy the cool evening breeze they will start circling and chirping. But, to my ears they are nagging, wondering where their food is and why don't I hurry and feel the feeder.

When I first started feeding them they would not come near the feeder until I was back in the house and the dogs were in the house. Now, a few years later I only have to stand still a few feet away and they will cautiously venture into the feeder.

Any slight noise, like the click of the shutter from my camera will spook some of them.

They don't give the dogs much attention, but they are watchful of the cats when they venture to the back. And yes, the cats seem to sense when I have filled up the feeder as well.

The birds have an interesting dynamic. I don't know all the different types of birds, but there are three different sizes of birds that come and feast starting with the largest, the pigeons. Each larger bird bullies the next smaller bird.

I feel bad for the smallest birds as they have to wait their turn - sometimes on the ground, sometimes waiting on the fence - for the other birds to fly away and then hurry to the feeder to grab a bite before getting run off.

I have always been a people watcher - when I was in school I watched people in the hallway, cafeteria, etc. Half the fun of going to the mall is sitting and watching people.

I now have become a bird watcher as well, not to look for rare birds or to identify them but just to watch their mannerisms, and figure out their personalities. It has become my own reality show.

It has been a few days since I have filled their feeder so it is probably time to go fill it up and watch the merriment begin.

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