I am submitting a “Classic Last Windrow” column from the year 2000. It is appropriate, I think, for this time of year, at the depths of winter and crawling toward March. I’m sure my readers and others can relate to this theme.
“A Classic” The Last Windrow by John Wetrosky, written Feb. 12, 2000:
I just hauled the third sack of sunflower seeds of the season into our basement. It will probably be the last bag I’ll have to purchase for this winter’s bird feeding. An omen of spring, if you will.
We never intentionally fed birds when I was a kid on that Iowa farm. We probably aided their winter forays by providing a dead critter or two for the crows to pick on and our corn crib was always being visited by bluejays and squirrels. We never gave much thought to purposely feeding anything that didn’t end up on our dinner table.
Bird feeding has become big business these days. Pet stores are full of feeding devices and hundreds of varieties of food for birds. It is a fun and popular pastime.
With birds in mind, I penned the following tribute to you birdfeeders out there on the winter tundra.
“The Bird Feeder”
Oh, look! It’s a chickadee!
Perched on that snow-covered tree!
Flitting its tail and bobbing its black-capped head,
Checking to see if there’s something below to dread.
Below hangs a feeder, filled to the brim,
With sunflower seeds and suet from beef trim.
It sways in the chilly breeze from the north,
Enticing feathered friends to come forth.
There, in a fir at the edge of the lot,
Sits a bluejay, screaming at something we see not.
A bully of sorts, it sends other birds flying,
But turns into a coward if anyone comes spying.
A fleck of yellow is seen in the tops of the branches.
Then another and another, until the flock is all in attendance.
Evening grosbeaks chirp an advance notice that warns,
“When we get our fill, your seeds will be gone.”
A streak of red brown darts across the snow-covered ground,
From tree to tree, first right side up, then upside down.
It’s a red squirrel with raiding on his mind.
Not to be denied his prize, there, dangling from the pine.
I’ve tried to stop this little beast from stealing seeds,
But, so far he has won the battle.
No contraption invented by me has worked for long,
That blasted critter has caused me much wrong!
A nuthatch lands just over the squirrel’s head,
Cautiously checking to see,
If this furry ball is in a mood to move on,
A sharp bark sends the nuthatch to a safer part of the tree.
It won’t be long until the spring breezes flow,
Through the greening branches and the young grass below.
And, the feeder will rest, its feeding chores done.
To be patched and mended for another day in next winter’s sun.
See you next time. Okay?