Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I had my trees trimmed last week. It's something that has to be done every year or the trees get out of control. It's also something I hate doing because of the noise, the mess, etc. I do admire the guys who are willing to do the work, from the aerialists who climb up the tree with such ease to trim it from the top down, to the guys on the ground who carry loads of heavy branches out to the front street and then at the end of the day, throw them all into the chipper. And my trees look so pretty when they are done.

But I hate the sound of the chain saws. I always feel like my trees are screaming, "Yee-ouch!" There is a part of the little opera called "L'Enfant et les Sortil├Ęges" by Ravel where the trees come to life and moan, "Mon blessure! Mon blessure!" (My wound! My wound!), referring to the carvings the young miscreant has made in their bark. Thankfully, the guys don't use the chain saw anymore on the pine trees, just small hacksaws which are blessedly quiet.

When they are done trimming, they do a pretty good job of cleaning up all the debris for me. I don't make it easy for them, though. My yard is small and I have planted a lot of herbs under the trees. However, there is usually plenty for me to do after they leave. Then it's my turn to get the yard ready for our winter guests—the birds who will be arriving in a couple of weeks in migration.

To that end, I cleaned the birdbath really well and bought a new chain for it since the old one was all rusty. It's a hanging bath. I also bought a new seed feeder which also hangs from my patio cover. I have had seed feeders in the past that attracted mostly House Finches, but one year we had an irruption of Pine Siskins and I had about 30 of those coming to my yard every day to feed. An irruption is when a number of birds are found outside of their normal range. Pine Siskins are mountain birds, but one winter they were here in the flatlands for some reason.

I fill the feeder with sunflower seeds only and the finches drop a fair number of seeds to the ground where the White Crowned Sparrows, who prefer to hunt for seed on the ground, can get them. Birds seem to know that my yard is a bird-friendly place and the presence of these birds also attracts other migrants who prefer bugs to seeds, like the warblers.

The Scrub Jays took no time at all to find the feeder. They're such smart birds. But the feeder is too small for them. They cannot comfortably perch and dig out the seeds. The resident squirrel has also found the feeder and he spent an hour yesterday trying to figure a way to get to its treasure. You can see his problem in the picture below. I thought he was going to try to fly across but he didn't, thank goodness.

Trying the direct approach...

He finally decided the whole thing was too risky and not worth the effort and he left. I hope it remains that way. Now if only the birds for whom it is intended would find it!


  1. You know mom he dint give up he went home to think of new ways to get to the feeder.

  2. Yes, you are right. He has come back twice to have another go at it, but both times he gave up sooner.