When your home becomes the gathering place for every kind of bird that either lives or flies by the Front Range, lessons in inclusivity come with it. You soon learn that the invitation to the aviary species that goes out “FREE FOOD AT THE PUMPHREYS’ ” does not discriminate. MK has become the “Daddy” Bruce Randolph of Whisper Creek. “Daddy” was known in Denver for creating one of the largest Thanksgiving Day food distributions in the nation. This year will be the 57th annual, with a total number of those fed to exceed 10,000.
When we first began this bird feeding program, we were thrilled with the occasional visit from a Yellow Finch or a House Wren. It used to take three days to empty the feeders, now it takes half a day. We have been discovered by thousands of birds. An Audubon book sits near our kitchen table. We are not official “birders” but we do love the energy they bring. There are days we see birds we can not identify. They range in size from almost humming bird size to the overly plump pigeons that somehow have moved in.
When I was in London a few years ago, they were having a huge debate over the feeding of pigeons at Trafalgar Square. The mayor got in trouble by calling pigeons “rats with wings”. I took the mayor’s side. I have a number of pigeon memories. My favorite happened in 1975 on the San Antonio River Walk. We were on a boat on the San Antonio canals, being served a family dinner. I was with my former in-laws and we were being serenaded by a Mariachi band. At a moment when the patriarch was getting ready to prepare the blessing, a pigeon placed a huge poop right on his forehead, that ran down his nose. He was generally an easy going, fun loving guy, but this giant blob of white, green, black and brown dripping on to his food, was too much. Someone else prayed.
We now are a favorite eating spot for up to 15 pigeons—I stay clear when they are flying around as I know their desire to sh__t on clergy. There are now also ring neck doves, which are an invasive species. I suppose every baby boomer who buys a new home out here could be called the same. This was once a beautiful ranch tucked right in front of the mountains.
Occasionally I will hear a church, including the ones I have served, say “Everyone Welcome”. Mostly what that can mean is “everyone I am
comfortable with is welcome”. I recently heard “But what if those kinds of people show up”? Well, I have experience with pigeons, grackles, fake doves, and a very mean variety of black birds. “All means all”— I have real problems with groups that then try to brand themselves with flags, stickers, symbols, sayings, etc. If you truly are feeding whoever comes you don’t need a Rainbow Flag, or an American Flag, or the “Don’t Tread on me” with an AR—15 silhouette.
Ok, pigeons still irritate me but they actually do feed on the seed that the little cute guys have lost on the ground. Someday I will write about the “herd of bunnies” we have running around our place. Yes, “herd of bunnies” is a proper description—just ask my daughter Amy, who lost a bet to me.
Onward and Upward, Mark