Our bird feeder is nestled beneath a tree among the blooming ligustrums lining the fence behind the Rectory. If I were a bird, I would want to frequent the spot: it's mostly shaded and relatively secluded; there's a bit of a breeze on a summer's day; and the fragrance emanating from the nearby Confederate Jasmine envelopes the setting. Why, were Wordsworth to have stumbled upon such an idyllic scene, no doubt he would have waxed poetic and composed something akin to "Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey." But alas, the Romantic Age came to a close centuries ago . . . about the time we last saw a bird perched on our feeder!
When we lived and farmed in rural South Carolina, we didn't have a bird feeder - no self-respecting farmer did. Our feathered friends were expected to scratch out an existence just like we were - "root, hog, or die" was the watchword for winged and footed alike . . . but all of that changed when we moved to Bluffton. We stopped planting a garden and raising our own meat - one might say we adopted a "Fresh Market approach" to survival; and from the number of bird feeders we noticed dotting neighboring lawns, we assumed the birds had done the same thing. Not wanting to be dubbed "nature grinches," we began contributing to the smorgasbord provided for our Lowcountry flighted friends.
Initially we concluded that the absence of winged visitors had something to do with the contents of our feeder, that their taste buds had simply become too refined for cracked corn. Thus each spring over the years we've upgraded our offering to the point that last month we determined to go all out to provide a "five diamond experience." We shopped for seed, carefully reading the all-important nutritional information printed on each bag, opting for the variety with labeling written not just in English and Spanish, but also in French . . . mais oui! Additionally, we replaced the venue with one featuring three levels with individual perching for six, all tastefully done in muted shades of bronze with acrylic overtones . . . c'est magnifique! But thus far offering the best content in the best setting has done little to spur customer participation.
A wise old wag ventured an explanation worthy of pondering: "Haven't you noticed, preacher? Birds are a lot like people. They just don't hang around feeders much when it's warm; they get what they're after in other places. No use lookin' for 'em 'til it gets cold."
In His Power and for His Glory,