Thursday, February 23, 2006

For the birds

Ugh. I am as brain-dead as can be after finishing my paper edits yesterday. Bad timing, but what can you do?

I think I'll attribute what happened this week to my general brain-death. I mentioned that I've been feeding the birds in my backyard, which now include a pair of English robins (so ridiculously adorable that I want to introduce them as an invasive species), a pair of blackbirds, a flock of racous dunnocks (sort of like sparrows), a couple of collared doves, an elephantine woodpigeon, and an assorted variety of small chickadee-like birds.

In the past, I've been able to walk through town to the local pet store, but I learned last week that it relocated to miles outside Cambridge. Since I have no interest in riding my bike through any more of this perilous shire than I must unless absolutely necessary, I decided to shop online. Before too long, I found a great place with high-energy winter feed and robin-specific blends. (I know, I'm a serious ecogeek, but what can you do?)

I typically go through a five pound bag of seed in six weeks, so I ordered what I thought worked out to about 15 pounds of food, just to avoid constant restocking. It arrived Tuesday, and I went to pick it up from the porter's lodge, a sort of front desk where college officials keep track of packages and the like.

That's when they told me it was too big for the lodge.

I looked outside the lodge and spotted a giant box resting on the floor. It was approximately the size of my desktop. "That can't be mine," I said, disregarding the fact that none of the other students would have ordered anything from CJ's WildBird Foods unless they really enjoyed seed for breakfast.

The porter shrugged. "It 'as your name on it."

I turned around and walked across college to the MCR, aka the graduate lounge. "Quick," I said to my friend and flatmate, Anna, "How many kilograms in a pound?"

"Two point five," she said. "No, wait, I think it's the other way around."

Oh shite.

So yes, with a brilliant reversed calculation, I've acquired something in the neighborhood of 35 pounds of bloody birdseed. It's taking up most of the kitchen counter on one side of the room, and I have no clue how I'm going to get rid of it by the time I leave. It doesn't help that the birds are skeptical of the new gourmet menu and have been turning their beaks up until today. Normally, that wouldn't matter -- but I have a wheelbarrow-sized lot of birdseed to toss, and two days without a peck suddenly becomes a crisis.

Bloody birds. I should have tried cultivating flowers. Or just used a calculator. Stupid meaningless conversions I thought I'd never use...this wouldn't happen if the world could just decide on one way to weigh things!


kristy said...

Now wait a minute. Aren't you the woman who was complaining about the bird noise? And you're feeding them? And overfeeding them? Hello?

Okay, wrap up a bunch of bird seed as wedding favors. If you can't find a wedding to donate to, take it to the ball. Maybe you'll start a new tradition???

Anonymous said...

that is the funniest damn thing i've read all day. well, considering what i read, i guess that's not as much as a compliment as it should be.

you're almost like st francis.

-berkeley girl

Meg said...

Aww, thanks BG. :) How's the research going?

Anonymous said...

Dear Meg,

Take the reddish colored, relatively large seeds and plant them in a pot. Leave space for adding some soil later, for unless you know more about making dirt they like, they will try to escape (really i think it is because the baby grass grows up inside of taller grass and . . .) and you will soon have 2-3 foot-high grass which put by an open window or fan will add movement to the room and rest your eyes. And, also grow some for your neighbors' cats who appreciate it when it is still young and tender (There is a pic of mature dead birdgrass as background for the fallart at my website).

And, please get a copy of my book "Rise, Ye Sea Slugs!" for the rainy days! Or, is it weeks? months? My sea slugs (actually holothurian haiku)are uncelebrated. rdg

Anonymous said...

"than me" should be after "dirt they like" - sorry!