It’s no secret that I am an animal lover. In this column, I’ve written extensively about my best friend Igor, my forever pooch, and about the plethora of birds I feed year round.
I go through 20 pounds of bird seed per week. Thank goodness for Home Depot and their relatively inexpensive 20-pound bag of seeds. At one time I would go there, a 10-minute ride, once a week to restock. Now, I buy two bags at a time, saving some wear and tear on this achy bag of bones.
And coming along with the territory of laying down birdseed on the grass and in hangers are the compulsory squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks — none of which I mind having share in the feasts.
Well my pups (my children this time) also know about my St. Francis reputation with the neighborhood wild life. As a gift, they got together and bought for me a Smart AI Recognition Bird Feeder.
This contraption has a reservoir for seeds that when filled spills into a tray. Directly behind the tray and the attached perch is a wireless, solar-paneled charged camera that gives me live feeds on my phone of what’s happening at the aviary restaurant attached to a big old oak tree in my backyard. It also provides an alert when motion is detected on the feeder.
Not only that, but it can recognize and identify thousands of breeds of birds.
I was thrilled with the well-thought out gift.
Yesterday, after Mass, I read all (most) of the instructions and synced the camera to my phone, attached the house-like feeder to the tree, adjusted the camera and filled the reservoir.
Now, on Sundays I like to chill by reading, surfing around the laptop, watching a movie, or sports. But yesterday, I opted to spend some time watching the show from the feeder.
Up to that point, the only motion alerts I received were of my adjusting the camera. It did take a pretty good still shot of me.
I settled down and watched the feeder live on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
I watched for one hour and the only wildlife to touch down was house fly. I took a still shot of it — it being the first visitor and all.
I watched for another hour and had the pleasure to taking a still of an ant. Visitor number two.
Now some may say that I wasted two hours just watching nothing happen on a deserted bird feeder. But, truth be told, I enjoyed the down time of not thinking, concentrating or becoming annoyed at the Jekyll-Hyde Boston Red Sox.
I actually just chilled, and prayed a bit as well. It felt really good to do literally nothing.
I watched in total two-and-a-half hours, witnessing birds flying by without stopping. Perhaps I should have added a Motel 6 sign screaming, “I have the light on for you. Stop!”
The first thing I did this morning was check to see if there were any motion hits —none. I turned on the camera, and I saw the sun rising in the east.
Then I got up, watered the plants and fed the birds, who were waiting for me, before filling the feeders and sprinkling the lawn with seeds. I wasn’t even finished and they were feeding. I wanted just to lay down a trail of seed to the new feeder, but I want it to happen naturally.
I did get a hit when I went to adjust the camera angle. Again, I got a pretty nice still shot of me.
So as of this writing, the house on the oak remains vacant. But I still dig it and will monitor it, just imagining the thrill of seeing the first bird (I hope it’s not a squirrel first). But as for now, I’ll relish the stills of the fly and the ant — still God’s creatures.