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Ritual Birdfeeding for the Hopelessly Insane

raccoon eating birdseed in Taos, NM

Hey! You’re eating GMO corn, ya chump!

There, you see? Caught him red-handed. It was easy to photograph the blaggard because he wouldn’t run. Why should he? He comes to this table almost every night. It’s like it has his name on it. Do raccoons have names? This one does now. I think I’ll call him “Full.”

The amazing thing is that I feed the birds at all, or try to. It would probably help to have some. Although the last couple weeks of monsoon rains have dulled the edge of the drought, if that’s what it is, we just haven’t seen as many birds this year. My wife always reads the birdfood lady column in the Santa Fe New Mexican. I took one look at that and decided it was fiction. Where are these flocks ye speak of? Yet I put the birdseed out, sometimes twice a day. That’s because there’s this big-ass squirrel that takes the morning shift. It’s pretty humiliating to look out the window and see him staring back at me with cheeks bulged out like golf balls. Then I remember my carbine stashed away behind the bar!

Oh sure, there must be better ways to build a feeder than laying a piece of plywood on a barrel and weighting it down with rocks. Something that would keep raccoons away, like a big dog on a chain or a nice loud Harley. But what about the ants? That’s right. The big red and brown ones we have here will carry off sunflower seeds. There’s nothing quite like watching a parade of ants staggering off into the sagebrush with your stuff like clumsy native bearers in an old white hunter movie.

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