(Beginning music by the great Spike Jones and his City Slickers via YouTube.)
Old men like me start thinking about pollen, mowing and weeding and sneezing and wheezing. And here in Texas that means I’m in for at least seven months of it. Except that I usually throw in the towel and give up about mid-August. That’s when the heat keeps me indoors most of the time knowing that my efforts to keep everything green and colorful are futile anyway. The lawn will turn brown eventually no matter what I do.
Last year I found a new distraction that I fancied might become a serious hobby. I started birdwatching. I don’t mean to offend anyone but in my mind nothing says “old man” louder than trying to differentiate between a common and a great tail grackle. Not that it matters. Grackles are all annoying trash birds that scare away the ones I really want to see: cardinals and orioles, golden finch and a rainbow of hummingbirds.
We bought bird feeders last year and placed them where we could see them from our family room. That was fun at first but the more involved I got the more frustrated I became in trying to stop the sparrows from beating up a delicate little tufted titmouse or a delightful red breasted nuthatch.
Sparrows are mean. They’re bullies, did you know that? They are. Theyve been known to throw eggs our of the nests of other species and steal their homes.
And another thing: birds are messy. They throw more seeds on the ground than they eat and they eat a ton of them. It gets expensive. The bird seed takes root in the lawn and weeds are growing everywhere when I had none before. What worse — the dogs eat the seeds off the ground and leave us little, crumbling piles of seedy poop.
I don’t know what to do. Should I resume the madness and go broke again having truckloads of premium seeds delivered from Amazon or should I just let them fend for themselves.
The thrill is gone and I’m glad I escaped the grip of addiction before it could pull me down to rock bottom. I am now and shall always be a recovering bird watcher.