John Carlson: Birds Finally Get Their Due

The perpetrator of felony seed theft. Photo by: graphicstockThe perpetrator of felony seed theft. Photo by: graphicstock

By: John Carlson—

By any calculation, Nancy and I should be multi-millionaires by now, except for the fact she spends approximately $7,000 a week on seeds to feed every single bird residing in Delaware County.

Does this upset me?

Well, yeah.

The worst thing is, of that $7,000 a week in seeds, squirrels consume $6,989 of it.

Now, I could understand morbidly obese birds. After all, come October, the majority that don’t want to turn into bird-shaped ice cubes crashing through your car windshield burn off all that ugly fat heading South. That way they can luxuriate in the fancy resorts Nancy and I can’t afford because she spent $7,000 a week for bird food the rest of the year. As it stands, from November to March, while folks down there hear beautiful bird songs, all I hear up North is the rattling of my personal frozen castanets tinkling like “Jingle Bells” with every step I take.

But enough about birds.

Squirrels? Sorry, There’s nothing cute about morbidly obese squirrels that will track you down and, if found with, say, peanuts in your pockets, eat you alive.

The thing is, word has gotten out around our bird feeders that I’m some softy who can’t deal with them. Sure, I eat meat, though usually only as it’s served between those nutrient-rich little hamburger buns enveloping wholesome White Castle “sliders” and “gut bombs.” But I don’t even kill insects anymore, unless I’m sunbathing in our backyard and Nancy says something like, “Isn’t that a black widow spider working its way under the elastic top of your Speedos?”

What’s truly upsetting is, I can be inside our living room, leveling the proverbial stink eye through the curtain slats at those brazen squirrels, and they couldn’t care less.

It’s like, “Oh, him? He’s a total wimp.”

Even worse? They occasionally moon me.

Me! An adult male human being! King of the East Central Indiana food chain! Mooned by squirrels!

We have on various occasions employed supposedly “squirrel-proof” seed feeders or slopped the poles with super-slick goop they can’t maintain a grip on to keep them off, but so far it’s been to no avail.

Photo by: Nancy Carlson

Perky-Pet’s SQUIRREL-BE-GONE!. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

But it’s possible Nancy has finally found the answer to our prayers.

“Look honey!” she hollered the other day, victoriously waving a package acquired on a shopping excursion to Rural King. “It’s Perky-Pet’s SQUIRREL-BE-GONE!”

One picture on the box showed three contented birds who looked like “Richard Simmons Show” candidates stuffing themselves like pigs from the feeder’s “easy-open ports.” In the shot directly below, meanwhile, a squirrel was desperately clinging upside down from this feeder with that loathsome, sullen, “Where’s my dinner?” look on his little tree-rodent face. You could tell, not getting a single seed nibble through the bogus squirrel ports, he was thinking, “What’s with this crap?”

The root of the Perky Pet’s success? Unfortunately I can’t tell you, its secret being sooo secret, it’s only hinted at in a foreign language printed on the box to keep it from falling into the hands of international squirrel master-thieves. I will note, however, that it partially reads “perchoirs en u favoris des oiseau” and “sous une pesee a ecureuils.”

That pretty well says it all, right?

Still, for those of you whose language skills – like moi’s – are limited to English and Pig Latin, a hint to the device’s effectiveness is its special “ecretsay apdoortray.”

But enough of the technical jargon.

The important point is, it seems to work just fine, judging from the gang of pissed-off squirrels gathered on the ground underneath our feeder these days, glaring up at me. Tough break, suckers! You know, if I wasn’t worried that my next door neighbors might misinterpret the gesture, I’d moon them myself.

A former longtime feature writer and columnist for The Star Press in Muncie, Indiana, John Carlson is a storyteller with an unflagging appreciation for the wonderful people of East Central Indiana and the tales of their lives, be they funny, poignant, inspirational or all three.