Blessings by the bird feeder

By: Tom Rupp
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It’s not that I hate squirrels. They are fun to watch, scampering about. My problem comes when I want to feed the birds.

We have had a basic feeder hanging on the tree out front. However, I would fill it with bird seeds and then watch the local squirrel come around and empty it out, in one day.

Again, I don’t hate squirrels, but I like the birds and I do not like it when they don’t get a chance.

Santa caught wind of this dilemma and brought us a present for Christmas – a “squirrel-proof” feeder. I watched one of these contraptions in action when I visited one of our hospice patients in her home. Her husband directed my attention to a feeder that looked like a barn, with a miniature weathervane on top, hanging out by their garage.

Sure enough, when anything heavy perched on it, the lid would close. A few days ago, I filled our new experiment up and replaced the former feeder with it.

Then the fun began. A small swarm of tiny finches, warblers, sparrows and/or wrens called for a meeting in our tree. At one point, five of them were all eating at the same time. The feeder has six feeding slots.

It is fun to watch and surmise what is going on, as larger birds shoo away the little ones, and then later return to pick up the mess left behind on the ground as the little ones also return to try again.

Sometimes an aggressive bird exerted more energy keeping his fellow birds away than getting his own food. But, all in all, they seemed to work it out.

Watching birds is relaxing. My favorite preacher and author, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, said in a message in London around 150 years ago, “Look at the birds in the winter. When there is not a leaf on the boughs they sit and sing, yet there is not a lark or thrush among them that has an hour’s provision in store.”

In other words, they sing, not knowing what they will have for breakfast or even if they will have one. There are cats around; perhaps they will BE breakfast.

I just checked on this frosty night and there is still a lot of seed left. God help me, like the birds, to sing by faith, no matter what. Chirp on, my little friends, breakfast is served.

Tom Rupp is a resident of Folsom and a weekly columnist in the Folsom Telegraph. You can reach him at