Mandan News

Dominated by birds

Layout 1 (Page 1)I’ve never really thought of myself as ornithologist, but life at Lake Tschida seems to be dominated by birds. I usually sleep with my bedroom window open, so from what I can tell, the birds around here usually get up shortly before dawn … like 5a.m.’ish. Their cacophony has become my alarm clock, so yes, most mornings I get up with the birds.

A few nights ago, my neighbor Pam was sitting on her deck. As I was cruising by, she poked one of my vulnerabilities by saying, “Buy ya a beer Dan?” I scampered over to her deck and grabbed a chair before she could change her mind.

Once I sat down it didn’t take long to notice all the birds flitting around me. Beautiful little goldfinches flitted from feeder to feeder and then back again. I couldn’t help but mention how cool it was. Goldfinches look a lot like parakeets, and Pam informed me that the males are more brilliant yellow than the females.

Then an oriole caught my attention as it sprinted towards a tin can nailed to a tree. I couldn’t resist asking Pam what she fed them and she said, “Grape jelly”.

So I finished my freebie and headed home, wondering if I could create such an ornithological sanctuary. I found a large plastic bottle and cut it into my concept of a bird feeder, then hung it up on a pine tree next to our deck.

After searching my entire estate, I had to streak into Elgin to pick up some grape jelly. While there, I picked up a bag of bird feed with full intent of constructing a bird feeder for whatever other birds might stop by.

So, I tossed a glob of grape jelly in my homemade feeder, and headed up to the garage to see what I could hold the other birdseed in. By the time I came back the orioles had shown up and were consuming the jelly.

I hung up the makeshift bird feeder, filled it with birdseed, and noted that five days later, no bird in its right mind had touched it.

On the other hand, the orioles had consumed an entire jar of grape jelly causing me to take another trip to town.

So here I am, in the wilds of Tschida, communing with the orioles and wondering what I have to do to get them other birds to stop by. Here’s hoping that you can afford whatever ornithological endeavors you get yourself into … as for me, I need to see if my fixed income can tolerate 10 jars of grape jelly/month … and I’ll get back to ya on that … dn