Feed the Birds

I’ve always loved the song “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins, especially its refrain of
       “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
       Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.”

I hadn’t planned on the thought behind it becoming a theme in my life. When we moved to Hattiesburg, we already had a small row of blueberry bushes and a fair sized fig tree. Country girl that I am, I envisioned blueberries on my cereal, blueberry muffins, and blueberry pie – not to mention ripe figs eaten out of hand and fig preserves. Things haven’t worked out quite like I planned.

The first year I had blueberries for cereal any morning I wanted and enough blueberries for muffins to put in the freezer that lasted quite a while through the year. I even got one blueberry pie. The birds seemed to eat some along but not enough to bother my harvest. In ensuing years, the birds have discovered the blueberries sooner and sooner. This year I had blueberries on my cereal one morning before the birds discovered they were ripening and picked them off before they could turn blue.

The medium sized fig tree was leveled after Katrina as they dragged downed trees across it from my neighbor’s yard, the only open path to get them out. After the hurricane passed, we all did whatever was necessary as a community to help each other clean up the mess and move on. The sacrifice of a fig tree and a few nandinas seemed small compared to losses all around us.

Well, you can’t kill a nandina and evidently not a fig tree. It has come back, bigger and stronger. Most of the limbs are far beyond my reach. I’ve tried to bargain with the birds for them to take the top half and leave me the bottom half. They don’t listen. They peck one bite out of a fig and go to the next one. I did get enough figs to put up a few this year, but not enough to share with non-feathered friends as I have in the past.

I won’t get into the birds eating the few strawberries off my plants but will go on to the picture which shows a plant I am willing to share. In fact, they can have it all. A sunflower came up volunteer beneath the bird feeder this year. I caught this bird with my camera in the midst of his breakfast pecking away on the sunflower gone to seed.

I’m sure I should count my blessings – a yard full of birds and it hasn’t cost me a tuppence.