I look outside of my window and see birds flying around like they don’t know where to go. I think they are hungry and looking for a place to get food. So I buy a bird feeder that attaches to my office window. The birds come to get food, and I feel happy as I watch them eat. They are so graceful and colorful. There are so many varieties of birds here that I think I might invest in a book about birds so that I can identify each species.
One day the suction cups that attach the bird feeder to my window no longer hold, and the feeder falls to the ground, useless. I look for other suction cups but cannot find the size that fits my feeder. I start worrying about the birds, wondering where they are getting food, if they are hungry, and if they feel betrayed by me since the feeder is no longer on the window.
I decide to fill a little red wagon with bird seed. I pour about 5 pounds of black-oiled sunflower seeds into the wagon bed. I think that amount of available seed will tide them over until I can find the appropriately sized suction cups for the feeder. I feel satisfied with my efforts.
It took a few hours until the first bird noticed the seeds in the wagon. But soon other birds came, and I had no more worries about the birds. They had found their new food source.
The next day I checked on the seeds in the wagon. They were all gone. ALL GONE? FIVE POUNDS OF SEED ALL GONE in 24 hours? Five pounds usually lasts about a month in my bird feeder.
I didn’t want to put another 5 pounds of seed out, so I had to ask myself a question. Was I feeding the birds because they were hungry or because I wanted to lure them to my window so I could enjoy looking at them? Was I being altruistic or just selfish?
I had to admit that I was feeding the birds slightly more for me than for them. I wanted to see them up close. I wanted to watch them as they picked through the seeds finding just the right one. I wanted their presence to distract me from my work so I could enjoy what was right outside my window, as opposed to keeping my eyes on my computer screen for hours at a time.
I felt bad about putting myself first.
Then I read that 90% of a bird’s diet consists of insects and berries, leaving just 10% of their diet to consist of seeds that humans leave out for them.
So, okay. I’ll give them their 10%, but I’m going to do it a day at a time, and now I’m okay with that.