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Bidding farewell to friends and enemies

Posts: 39
Location: Sedona Az Zone 8b
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I used to like birds a lot. They always seemed like happy, carefree, friendly creatures. They sang out their joy. Then 10 years ago I began gardening and growing my own food and my opinion changed completely!!!

Some of these little, evil goblins ate almost everything I tried to grow. I had to start putting my vegie plants in tunnels and hardware cloth cages covered in bird netting and screen material. My garden looked like a prison yard; not the cute little English garden I had hoped for! These smart little rat b*%!$@#! could get into anything! They would tear holes in the bird netting and dig holes to get under my tunnels. They were relentless! They laughed at scarecrows, rubber snakes and shiny stuff. They began mocking me!! In a pinch I could bring out my big gun... my Yard Enforcer, the motion sensor I hooked my hose up to. It worked really well but I couldn't use it in really hot weather or really cold weather so I still lost most of the time. They won the battles far more often than I did. For 10 years they have been my NEMESIS!!! They left me almost nothing!

Then back in May I accidentally left 2 cages protecting some cucumbers and beans uncovered! I woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night and realized what I had done. I knew they would be history by next morning and I was kicking myself for being so careless. But the next morning they were still there.....untouched! I couldn't believe it. Last month when my peppers and eggplants outgrew their tunnels I opened them up and was expecting the worst which always happened. And nothing happened! Each week I have removed a few more tunnels and cages and bird netting and everything is still O.K.!! I still can't believe it but those birds have gone! The weather is changing, the conditions are changing and my nemesis has left! There is a heaven after all. I must be dreaming!

The first birds I disliked when I started gardening here were Mexican Jays. Their screech was deafening. They were mean and nasty and bullied all the other smaller birds. And I hated that there were dozens of them in my yard 24/7, rain or shine hanging around me every minute of the day! After a few years I finally got used to them. And I realized that they never hurt the other birds and they never ate my food. And then 3 years ago I did some research on them. It turned out they live in a big sort of communal family group and they stay in the same place for generations. And everyone in the group helps to feed the babies.  And they can easily live to be 15 years old. And I thought 'They're not so obnoxious after all!' They're older and wiser and they just don't have so much patience any more to put up with all the 'they think they know it all' young finches and grosbeaks! They're a lot like me!

I realized last week that most of them are gone now too. I have only seen one in the last few months. There are still plenty of birds around but I miss the jays very much. It's a little lonelier in my garden now. Change is constant. Nothing ever stays the same. That's life. And I wish them all well.
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