Too easy.

It’s freezing, and I’ve been buying cakes of fat.

I don’t mind the cold. There’s thick air in every breath, so you feel good. But cakes of fat?

They’re for the birds. We put these cakes in little holders, and hang them in front of our windows. Birds are so frozen and hungry, they leave the wild and come close.

For people, congealed fat can be bad news. But for birds it’s money in the bank. So we buy cakes of it, encrusted with seeds and bits of fruit.

We’re surprised at how many birds it draws, and how many different kinds.

What’s also surprising is that I don’t feel this is real bird watching.

Fish in a barrel

Yeah, it’s good to give the birds a hand when it’s freezing. But spotting birds at a feeder isn’t birding; it’s shooting fish in a barrel.

Today there was a big Red-bellied Woodpecker on the other side of the glass. Lured with fat and seeds.

Also, countless American Goldfinches in sparrow-like winter plumage, Dark-eyed Juncos, Cardinals, Black-capped Chickadees, White and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. A single lost Mourning Dove.

My yard’s become something like a zoo. (If you see a gorilla in a zoo, you don’t feel like you saw a gorilla. You feel bummed.)

If I want to do some real bird watching, I’ll put on a coat, boots, a stupid-looking hat, and get my freezing butt into the woods somewhere.

There won’t be many birds. But if I see a Red-bellied Woodpecker, it’ll mean something.

3 Responses to “Too easy.”

  1. Patty says:

    On MLK Day I drove about 3 hours round trip to see a young female snowy owl that scattered down from the artic with others (my step daughter saw one in Chicago). She’s pretty much planted herself for now on the rocks of a dam in Harmony, NJ, so besides the drive and the 1/2 hour walk along the reservoir, this was a pretty easy sighting. But special, because I’ve never seen a snowy owl in the wild before, and may not again. Spy them while you can.

  2. Marc D. says:

    Blubber insulates against the cold, provides the energy that runs our engines. Every winter I wax more girthsome, ingesting more cheeses, butter, artery damming grease and gunk in every variety. (But not pate de foie gras.) But we need the fat, that’s why nature has made it taste so good.

  3. Rob L says:

    It might be cheating but it’s still cool to see a woodpecker. I’m going to pick up a couple cakes of fat today. One for the birds, one for me.

    Btw, the title of this post could also refer to how you make writing look.