Bluebirds of envy

Young people envy other people’s clothes, cars and social-media following.

Boomers envy other people’s birds.

Case in point: My friend Carol recently sent me some extraordinary photos she took of a family of bluebirds in her birdfeeder.

When I was done ooh-ing and aw-ing, I dissolved in a wretched green goo of jealousy and self-pity.

Despite the 25-pound bag of birdseed taking up space in my living room, and my zealousness in keeping the feeders full and the bird bath clean, I have no baby bluebirds. In fact, I’ve only seen one bluebird all spring.

I looked at Carol’s pictures and salivated. The ugly claws of want and ignorance protruded from my skirt.

I scrolled through my photos to see what birds I, too, could show off. There was nothing there but a red-tailed hawk that had perched in a tree in my yard for what seemed a long time, probably looking for bluebirds to eat.

I sent the photo to Carol, even though you could barely see the brownish bird on the brownish tree. Carol pretended to be impressed, but she was just being nice.

“Mealworms,” she said, helpfully.

So, this weekend, off to the Lowe’s I will go in search of mealworms in a desperate attempt to up my bird game.

Note to self: Need new feeder, too.

Bluebirds of envy in Maryland, May 2020. Photos by Carol Farrington.

Red-tailed hawk, Massachusetts, May 2020. Photo by Jennifer Graham.

6 thoughts on “Bluebirds of envy

  1. Wow…those are glorious photos, that’s for sure. But I love your hawk, too! Bluebirds are tricky because of their preference for open fields, so Carol is gifted and blessed. 🙂

    Good luck with your mealworms. I hope you’ll give us a follow-up report on their effect.

    Enjoy your guests, whatever color their feathers.

    Thank you for brightening my day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I will. But this does present an ethical problem. Given the hawk, and that every day I hear owls hooting close to my house, it makes me wonder if I should be feeding birds at all. It seems vaguely exploitative …. attracting birds for my viewing pleasure puts them at greater risk of being somebody’s lunch. (Yes, I have been traumatized by the Cornell owl cam.)


  2. Jennifer, as you know, I love everything you write,”no exceptions.”but this was really a polished little jewel. The only thing tougher for writers than to be brief is for them to be brief and excellent.

    Let me know how those mealworms work out!

    Arizona Bill


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