Protection from Pigeons

Wednesday April 1, 2020

One of the things which brings me great pleasure – and increasingly so in these times of what seems like house arrest – is watching the birds at my birdfeeder. We have a pair of charming robins who are regular visitors, a blackbird, two adorable long-tailed tits, a couple of coal tits, several Olympic standard gymnast blue-tits and a permanently "friend-zoned" chaffinch who chirps his mating call, "weep, weep," every year, well into summer.

About a week ago, however, I noticed the seed level in the feeder was going down faster than the sherry bottle when Aunt Vi* comes to stay. I kept a sharp eye on it and very soon caught the culprit; an enormous, fat, bully-boy woodpigeon.

I have nothing against woodpigeons; they have pretty iridescent feathers and a pleasant melodious call, but they are greedy and, besides, this one was chasing all my little songbirds away.

Well, I didn't want that woodpigeon eating all my birdseed, so I set about protecting the feeder from his marauding raids. I rummaged in the garage until I found some slender bamboo sticks and set about creating a "cage" for the feeder. Half an hour and some sore fingers later, I took it triumphantly out to the apple tree and again hung it up.

"There, pigeon," I said. "You can't get it now!"

I had underestimated the ingenuity of this pigeon. He spent two days fluttering around, baffled, and then alighted on a solution. The bamboo sticks were, true, too fragile for his clumsy body, but he discovered that, if he perched on the branch of the apple tree directly under the feeder, inserted his head in between the bamboo sticks, then swivelled it through 90˚, he could just about get his beak into the opening. He eyed me through the window with baleful triumph as he gobbled down half a feeder's worth of seed, suet and mealworms.

I have now moved the feeder. This time there are no convenient branches for him to perch on, but I do wonder what he might come up with next.

It occurred to me that this pigeon is like the thoughts that overwhelm me and sap my energy. Many of them are practical thoughts: I really do need to have a mind to my finances and know how and what assistance I can apply for; I should indeed put my courses online and contact all my clients; it is important be aware of the news. There is nothing wrong with these thoughts.

But if I allow my mind to dwell on them, then my energy is depleted. These thoughts reoccur again and again. I cannot be the only one who has found themselves more tired this last couple of weeks. We need to manage our energy levels and the emotions that drain them. We need to protect ourselves from the pigeons and concentrate on the little songbirds (those thoughts and actions) which bring us joy.

A Moodscope member.

* I don't actually have an Aunt Vi...

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