Like many people’s interests, my wild bird watching hobby grew over time. First one bird feeder. Only a month later, a second feeder. Then another. Then several. And finally, many. Too many to offer at any given time. I have to rotate bird feeders as art museums have to rotate paintings in their collections for lack of enough space to display them all at once.
I added a bird bath and then another.
I got a bird house.
Then my garden somehow began to grow flowers that attracted birds.
I figured I had reached a saturation point and anything more might begin to upset the neighbors, if it hadn’t already. After all, I live in a community of homes with well-defined little yards and manicured lawns, not on a farm where my nearest neighbors are birds, deer and ground hogs. Being sure the neighbors would enjoy watching the beautiful winged creatures, I still knew there could come a point when they felt the birds were troublesome.
I worried the neighbors might be too polite to tell me they didn’t like the weeds that sprouted from the seeds birds dropped on their property.
I worried they might become upset if one day some poor bird went crashing into one of their windows and perished.
I worried they would think the feeders a blight on the neighborhood.
As time wore on, the son of the elderly lady living next to me (whose windows gave her a clear shot of most of my feeders and the bird baths) told me how much his increasingly home-bound mother loved to sit in front of her window and watch “my” birds every day. I took it as a great compliment that not only relieved my worry but also warmed my heart. Sadly, the lady next door passed away. But now her daughter has become my neighbor and let me know that she, too, enjoys watching “my” birds.
Then there was the late-August day the home owners’ association president arrived on my deck as I was watering my container garden that had somehow become overrun with hummingbird-attracting plants. Oh-oh! I worried he may have come to tell me I had broken some rule about too many flower pots or too many bird feeders. But no. He just came to deliver some neighborhood updates. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted movement. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sneaked up on him as it flitted and flew among flowers pouring out of hanging baskets a few feet away. Once he got over his initial amazement at seeing a hummingbird so close, he became mesmerized by it! Then he spotted the hummingbird feeder and teased that I might be cheating to coax them with a fixture brimming with easily reached and always fresh, plentiful sugar-water.
The couple a few doors down occasionally walk over to see if they can spy any hummers when they become frequent visitors to the flowers and feeders in late summer. Being European, the pair becomes enchanted if the birds appear since there are no hummingbirds outside the Americas. I worry they might plant a hummingbird garden and steal some of my birds. But since they are often in Europe for much of the summer, they can’t tend a hummingbird garden.
Then there’s the neighbor who cuts through my yard on his walk to the grocery every day. I worried he would tell me to stop planting hummingbird-attracting flowers in the planter on his deck that otherwise grows tall weeds since he does not maintain it. But he seems to like the flowers I plant for him and to enjoy seeing the flocks at the seed and suet feeders on his daily walks. He often comments about how much fun it is to watch them bathe, even in winter in the heated bird bath.
I guess I didn’t have to worry too much about the neighbors after all.
OMG! Honestly, finishing up this post just now made me recall something. In a recent email, a friend told me, “You worry too much.” Do you think so?