Dear Bird Store Owners:
I usually do all of my shopping on the internet but there are some things that simply seem more practical and fun to buy in a store. As a general rule, I love to visit the bird store. There are supplies and fun things–jewelry, flags, fountains, stuff with birds on them like mugs and such. I just like to wander around and check things out.
But bird store owners, you are really making me reconsider. I tried a new store in Rockville. I wanted to get a feeder that would make it harder for the squirrels to get the food. I don’t want to completely stop them because they are fun to watch and I find a bit of joy in yelling at them and scaring them off. We play a game, the squirrels and I. They are clever. I try to outsmart them. I can’t and we keep at it.
At this bird store some creepy guy working at the store did not see the humor in squirrels at all. He announced quite seriously that, “Squirrels can be stopped.” He sounded like he had a vendetta. He hated them. It was palpable. I just kind of scoffed and said, oh, come on. But no, he said if I wanted to stop them, I could. I was laughing about how I put PAM spray on the poles so they could not climb. It is hilarious watching them slide down the pole in utter amazement and puzzlement. They soon figured out some other way but it is fun to watch them thinking it through. They are not really destructive. They are just really, really hungry all the time. He did not think this was funny at all. He said with a sneer, “And how long does that last?” Hey buddy, lighten up!
So I went to a different bird store. They had a sign out front that said they had blue bird boxes. Okay. I wondered if I could put out a box. I have been to this store before and stopped going because this store owner is in a perpetual bad mood. But I figured I’d give it another try. That was a mistake. Everyone else in the store seems fine but on this visit he was training a new cashier and he was impatient and at times rude to her. That relationship did not seem long term.
When I asked about the blue birds, he growled at me, “You need to live with open fields.” Okay, that is not really me. Then he went off about sparrows and how they were an invasive species that need to be cleaned from the face of the earth. Apparently, they will nest in blue bird boxes if the boxes are not built and placed properly. Boxes need to have a hole opening small enough that sparrows cannot enter but blue birds can. See this discussion. But one does have to ask, at what point are sparrows no longer an invasive species? Sparrows have been here for over 100 years. They are here to stay and our native birds need to get Darwinian on them and evolve to handle them. We are not going to make them go away. Not by a long shot. So can’t we all just live together?
At this point, I do not want to go back to either of these stores, my choices being creepy guy or angry guy. Maybe it is time to try the internet.