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©March 2001

Carol Jane Remsburg



For the Birds




Every year I keep forgetting just how it is that spring begins.  The slow transition often leaves me frustrated.  The calendar says it should be spring but it's not—yet.  The March winds howl and most of the time it's raw and cold.  It also begins to rain more, a lot more.  But that's still not how spring begins.  It begins with the birds.


Each year in late fall we begin feeding those little buggers, the birds I mean.  Their food sources dwindle in the face of winter and I stock up on loads of bird feed.  They also get stale cereal and bits of bread—anything that will help.  I'd like to say that we do it in exchange for the birdsong come the warmer weather but that isn't entirely true.  Our little family does it because those birds demand it—and like all strays in the area, they know suckers when they see them.  Why else would we have so many pets that found their way here as strays?


No, the coming of spring isn't just heralded with the many twitterings and love songs of the birds—it's that time of year again when my car becomes the "bird-doodie mobile." 


All winter long the jays, the wrens, the sparrows, the starlings, and the blackbirds (well, the list does go on and on, but you get the point) feed all around my car that sits in the driveway between the house and a line of cedar trees.  They kindly keep their splats off the car for the most part.  Every year there is one or two that hasn't learned but they seem to get the hang of it.  This works out just fine until about the second week of March.  Then all hell breaks loose.


By then it doesn't matter if the sun is shining or it's raining or blowing or snowing or just cloudy.  The symphony of the birds is deafening by 4:40AM.  I know they think it's lovely but I'd like to get just one more hour of sleep in before I crawl out of bed.  As I lay there in bed trying hard to ignore the din and reach back into slumber—I know what they are doing out there.  They aren't just bugling the morning alarm—they are dive-bombing my car.  It is quite apparent that some are so adept that they can hit the same spots with precision every day—like the door handle on the driver's side.  Others bide their time.  They'll eat their fill and wait until their hollow-boned bodies can barely lift off the ground before dumping their waste on my windshield.  One splat the other day surprised me.  It appeared large enough to have come from a Canadian goose or a swan or something.  Geez!


I'll be the first to admit that my car is used for transportation.  I try very hard to keep it in running shape as she's now over 12 years old.  However, keeping her beautiful doesn't happen often—therefore it's mostly just the hose that gets the worse of it off.  But it wouldn't matter if I washed and waxed the car every day—those birds dump on my car like a well-trained housecat will dive for their litter box after someone thoughtlessly shut the door between the cat and the litter box for, say, 18 hours. 


So down the road I go each morning in early spring—bespattered by the birds.  Sometimes I can swear I hear them laughing.  Maybe next fall I won't lay in that store of bird feed and we'll see who laughs then. 


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