Have you ever wondered how this expression came about? I know I have used this comment frequently to express frustration and disgust, particularly in my teaching days. "This is for the birds!" was usually in reference to some state mandate or a project by an inept administrator requiring a mound of useless paperwork that somehow was supposed to improve student learning. But why would we compare something distasteful to birds? What have our feathered friends ever done to deserve such derogatory comments?
I know that you, my fellow bloggers, are all bird lovers, some to the point that you can identify the long-tailed whippersnapper or the orange-breasted grosamacallit, and some of you are photographers extraordinaire, posting amazing close-ups of a variety of birds in your posts. I am neither--I can't identify anything other than the most common species, and my camera doesn't have much zoom capability to capture them at close range--but I do enjoy watching the birds that flock to my yard and garden. And so, I ask you, in the true spirit of political correctness, to join with me in abolishing all negative epithets regarding birds, including "for the birds" or "birdbrain." I plan to eliminate all such expressions from my vocabulary, and I hope you will urge others to do the same. It's time we accord our avian friends the same respect and basic rights that we give to all other species, regardless of race, color, creed, or sexual preference.
In all seriousness, now that my garden is no longer blooming, the birds are providing me with much enjoyment. I wish I could identify the different species that have been visiting lately, but I do recognize the robins, sparrows, finches, cardinals, crows, starlings, and bluejays. There won't be any wonderful photos of them here, because of the aforementioned camera inadequacies, so unfortunately I can't ask for your help in identifying them either. And without photos you'll just have to trust me when I say I also saw a red-headed woodpecker the other day. (No, his name wasn't Woody, for those of you old enough to recognize that reference.)
The goldfinches have been residents here all summer long, and recently returned after what must have been a short vacation. They entertained me the other morning as they jockeyed for position on the finch feeder. Two of them even engaged in feather to feather combat in midair--I would have given anything to have my camera with me then! I'm not sure what they were fighting over, but I suspect it had something to do with territorial rights.
Besides the thistle seed in the feeder itself, the finches also enjoy the seedheads of the coneflower. This year I have decided to leave the dried flowers as they are. I'm not going to worry what passersby think of my roadside garden; the birds are enjoying it, and that's all that matters.
The cardinals have also kept me entertained, which gives me an excuse to show off my burning bushes again. They reached their peak of color in late September and kept this blazing red color for a month.
In the spring and early summer I am pretty sure a pair of cardinals had a nest here, because every time I worked in this flowerbed, a male would fly about, constantly scolding me. I tried to reassure him that I would work quietly and not disturb his family, but he kept a wary eye on me the whole time I was there.
Here are two I can identify, though. If you click to enlarge this and look very closely, you will see a robin on the right and a cardinal to the left. I took several shots of the cardinal, but this was the best I could get--he just blended into the red berries in all the other photos. I really wish I could take good close-ups of the birds, but that would involve buying a new camera, and I'm not ready to spend money on a new one when mine is less than a year old. I do try to get as close as I can to the birds, but no matter how stealthily I approach them, they seem to notice the woman in the bright red jacket, camera in hand. And it doesn't help that my constant canine companion, Coconut, likes to run ahead of me to get in on the action.
And so I settle for these far-away photos and try not to disturb the birds too much. By the way, I am not doing an ABC Wednesday post tomorrow. The letter this week is R, so perhaps I could have included this fat Robin enjoying the view.
In September and early October I spent a great deal of time picking apples and preserving them for the winter. Climbing up and down a ladder causes very painful knees, so I decided just to pick the apples from the lowest branches and wait for the others to fall to the ground. Each day I collected the fallen apples before they could spoil, but time and the weather kept me from finishing the job. I noticed the other day that someone appreciated my neglect.