Windows of opportunity
David Copperfield is perhaps not the greatest of Dickens’ novels but it features the redoubtable Betsey Trotwood, David’s great-aunt, who seems obsessed with shooing donkeys from that part of the common overlooked by the Trotwood abode.
Suze tells me I remind her of Betsey Trotwood in my attitude to the wood pigeons which come down from a big sycamore nearby to raid the bird table which I resupply with mixed seed, fat balls, etc every morning. I wouldn’t mind if the pigeons took only a modest share but they bully away all the little finches, robins, blackbirds and tits. Our office room, where I sit writing this joust, is upstairs and overlooks our back garden so by periodically glancing out of the window I can easily monitor when the pigeons come down to feed.
At first all I had to do was open the office window and shout “Shoo! Depart!” at them but they soon learned to recognise this as an empty threat – what could I do from an upstairs window? I don’t want to actually harm the greedy sods so air rifles, etc are out of the question but I am not going to be insolently ignored by a pair of pigeons. So what I have to do now when I see the pigeons working their way cautiously along the fence towards the bird table, is get up, run downstairs, stride into the kitchen, open the back door and then they’ll reluctantly fly up into the sycamore. If I want them to really scram I have to march down the garden towards the back fence, bend down and pretend to pick up a stone, then stretch my arm back as if I were about to throw it. Then it might be twenty minutes or so before they’ll try another raid.
People tell me I could save myself a lot of effort running up and down stairs by acquiring a pigeon-proof bird feeder. Or I could summon the power of technology by having something noisy and scary pop-up near the bird table, actuated by some sort of radio device – that might be quite fun but I prefer my method which I see as being the healthy option for both the wood pigeons and me; they get a short window of opportunity to grab a snack while I am running down the stairs, and then they get some much-needed exercise (they are a bit plump) in flying away. I also get some much-needed exercise (I too am a bit plump these days) in running up and down the stairs several times each morning. And so, if everyone is not exactly happy, at least we are all healthily disgruntled.
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