(not) feeding the birds

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the location of our house is that our back yard abuts a natural area with a state-owned fence giving us a barrier to large wildlife. We’ve used this relative protection to feed birds year-round, watching them swooping down for seeds and suet and then back into our trees.

our backyard bird feeder system

That sense of protection was shattered last week when we awoke to find the central pole snapped and the mostly empty feeders on the ground. The plexiglass of the hopper feeder was broken, making it unusable. The copper suet feeder was bent and had been taken across the yard to one of the large trees.

Our assumption is that a bear had come around the end of the fence and entered our neighborhood and used our feeder station to fatten up for hibernation.

Although it wasn’t the first time a bear had been sited near us, it was the first time we had ever had our feeders raided. Because our local Wild Birds Unlimited store recently closed, B and I trekked up to the store in Fayetteville on Saturday to get the supplies we needed to repair our system.

I had thought that, given the rarity of bears in our neighborhood, we were safe to resume feeding the birds who need the food even more as the weather gets colder and the growing season ends.

I was wrong.

Sunday morning, we awoke to find our new pole broken and empty feeders scattered around its base. Fortunately, this time, the damage to the feeders is repairable without needing to get new parts.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to put them back out until winter is setting in and the bears are hibernating.

The back yard seems empty without the feeders there and the cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, nuthatches, finches, juncos, titmouses, and my favorite chickadees flying in and out, especially at dawn, midday, and before sundown. I know, as wild things, they will be okay without our seeds and suet set out for them but I feel badly withdrawing a food source they have relied on for so long.

Maybe in a few weeks…

SoCS: on our yard and climate

Unlike many people in our area, we keep our yard as natural as we can. No pesticides or herbicides. Big shade trees on the south side of the house – maple, oak, cherry, and ash. a few bushes – lilac, rhododendron, forsythia. We do have a mowed lawn; going full meadow wouldn’t be allowed by our town, but along with the grasses, there are wild strawberries, violets, daisies, and, of course, dandelions. There are animals – squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks, and the occasional skunk – and lots of birds – chickadees, nuthatches, bluejays, mourning doves, several kinds of finches and woodpeckers, tufted titmouse, and, this time of year, robins. At the moment, a robin is building a nest on the bend of the downspout near the back door.

This has been a good year for our forsythia. It is usually a bit anemic. We inherited it when we bought the house and have a suspicion that it was actually a variety that was more suited to a warmer zone. Lately, it seems to have more good years for blossoms than bad. It’s probably not a coincidence, as the climate is warming and growing zones shift.

Of course, this is a particularly appropriate day to talk about climate change, as there are many climate change awareness marches happening today, here in the US and around the world. I wish that I were able to be in Washington DC for the main US march. There are people from my area who boarded a bus at 3ish in the morning to get there to participate.

I will be joining them in spirit. I have been writing, studying, protesting, lobbying, etc. on phasing out fossil fuels, banning fracking, increasing renewable energy quickly, and combating climate change and greenhouse gases’astronomical rise for many years now. With the current administration, we are redoubling, tripling, quadrupling, or exponentially raising our efforts.

If we are wrong on climate policy and the effects of climate change roll on out of control, people will die unnecessarily. Coastal populations and those living in poverty are most vulnerable. There are already climate refugees. Some island nations are under threat of losing their land entirely. Even in the US, there are already some people needing to be relocated due to rising sea levels.

We are all in this together. Every single person throughout the world. The heaviest burdens financially in the cleanup efforts, and mitigation, and relocation, and all the other effects of climate change, should be borne by the countries and companies who were enriched by exploiting fossil fuels beyond what the environment and climate could absorb. Developing economies don’t need to follow the fossil fuel pattern of the industrialized countries. They can build up their communities using renewable and energy-efficient technologies and the wealthier countries must help them to do that.

When Pope Francis released his encyclical Laudato Si’, he addressed all people and called for an integral ecology that would aid the natural world and human communities, with special emphasis on aiding the most vulnerable people and environments. Many people of all spiritual traditions and those who do not follow any faith path have joined together in this endeavor. One-hundred ninety-five countries signed onto the Paris climate accord. Each pledged to all the others to implement goals to combat climate change, help the environment, and support people, especially those most at risk. Progress is being made and many places are reaching beyond their stated goals to effect further greenhouse gas reductions.

We are already feeling the effects of climate change in increased severe weather, droughts, floods, heat waves, wildfires, and species extinctions. Even if the US government unwisely abandoned its promises in Paris, many of our states and localities, our companies, and our citizens and residents will keep going, moving forward with energy efficiency, renewable energy, and preparing our towns and cities for emergencies.

We will continue to march on, literally and figuratively.
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “yard.”  Join us! Find out how here: https://lindaghill.com/2017/04/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-apr-2917/


The strength of honeycombs

Time to share another post from Stephanie, who loves science and words and fabulous photos!

This post features the strength of honeycombs, hexagons, and Fibonacci sequences with gorgeous photos of very tiny organisms:

Thanks, Steph!

One-Liner Wednesday: Muir quote

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”
– John Muir

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays. Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/09/23/one-liner-wednesday-author-author/

One-Liner Wednesday – Progress

“I don’t understand why when we destroy something created by man we call it vandalism, but when we destroy something created by nature we call it progress.”
– Ed Begley, Jr.

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/01/21/one-liner-wednesday-laugh-a-little/

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