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The U of Life on my Balcony

There's almost a circle of life happening on my balcony, but it's too soon to tell if the circle is closed. So I will call it the U of life for now.

The U starts off with my bird feeder. I have a bird feeder that dispenses bird seed to all the birds who decide to make the trek to my balcony. Seed is dispensed for about a week, and then stops until a weekend that I motivate myself to refill it and have planned far enough ahead to have bird seed on hand.

Only smaller birds feed at the actual bird feeder. The larger pigeon-sized birds look too shy, and instead walk around on the railing of my balcony or walk around on the floor of my balcony. The floor of my balcony is where the next important stop in the U of Life of my balcony. Much of the seed that the smaller birds try to get at from the bird feeder suspended from the balcony ceiling lands on the floor. This is where the larger birds get the bird seed from.

And then there's another animal. The squirrels. I like squirrels. Some people hang their bird feeders so the squirrels cannot reach it. The squirrels cannot reach mine, but this is in no way intentional. The squirrels visit constantly during the day (I see them almost solidly throughout the weekend when I am sitting in my living room during daylight hours). They eat all the seed off the floor. Sometimes when they look up, they have bird seed smeared all over their face. I predict this is what rock stars look like right after snorting a whole bunch of cocaine.

The squirrels are not happy enough just eating the seed off the floor. They want to get to the bird feeder. And I'm really rooting for them. A squirrel will sometimes stand on the top of my DirecTV satellite dish stand, and look longingly at the bird feeder about 2 feet to the right, and 1 foot in additional altitude. By looking at him you can tell he's measuring the pros and cons of jumping in his head. The squirrel never jumps, but I think it would be fantastic if he did. I'd have a front row seat to seeing a squirrel leap through the air, try to catch hold and stay onto the bird feeder which is gently swaying in the wind, and watching the bird seed scatter in all directions from the shock. Some people pay good money to see Cirque Du Soleil do this kind of stuff. It would be worth the couple of dollars I've been investing in bird seed over the years.

The squirrel has a plan B. The bird feeder is about 3 feet away from my sliding screen door. On a couple of occasions, I've seen a squirrel climb straight vertically up the screen to the same altitude as the bird feeder. Again, I root for the squirrel to attempt the fling. I've seen squirrels fling themselves much farther than three feet. This fling would be particularly spectacular since it would have to involve a back flip. The squirrel is facing the wrong direction as it climbs up the screen. Again, the spray of bird seed flying in all directions is a climax I can't wait to see.

The cats seem especially interested when the squirrel climbs up the screen. They paw at him through the glass window. The squirrel has learned to ignore everything that happens on the other side of the glass window. I can knock on the window or just take pictures for minutes on end. But as soon as I start to open a door, the squirrel flings himself about 6 feet to a nearby tree.

I've witnessed some of the fallen bird seed that has fallen into the dirt start to grow into plants. I'm not sure what kind of plant - a bird seed plant? As soon as one survives and starts producing fruits, the circle of life will be complete, and I will no longer have to invest money into seeing potential squirrel acrobatics. But harvesting the bird seed tree might be more effort than its worth.

Posted by: jav on May 08, 05 | 7:13 pm | Profile


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