1. You always wait for all of the birds to fly away before running outside and chasing squirrels from under your bird feeders.
2. Sometimes you forget to put on your slacks before running outside and chasing squirrels from your feeders.
3. You chase squirrels from your feeders by standing at your open patio door and barking loudly at them.
4. Squirrels run away when you bark at them but the birds at your feeders have learned to ignore the barking.
5. Your neighbor asks how you trained your dog to scare the squirrels away from your feeders by barking loudly at them from the patio door and you don't have a dog.
6. You chase squirrels from your feeders by running through the yard, yelling wildly, and squirting them with the water pistol you bought for your grandson's birthday next month.
7. You decide to keep the water pistol you bought for your grandson's birthday and get him another gift because squirting squirrels is both effective in chasing them away from your feeders and a whole lot of fun.
8. The birds in your backyard have become so accustomed to seeing you chase squirrels that they no longer bother to fly to nearby trees.
9. When running after squirrels and squirting them with your water pistol, you never notice you've forgotten to put on your slacks until you're in the far back corner of your yard.
10. It's laugh-out-loud funny to see a squirrel running away from the feeders and falling head-over-heels over the bird water dish that you placed in the grass between the feeders and the tree.
11. It's uproariously funny when three squirrels, one after another, fall head-over-heels over the bird water dish that sits in the grass between the feeders and the tree.
12. You move the bird water dish to the patio after finding nothing at all amusing when you trip over the stupid bird water dish that you forgot you placed in the grass between the bird feeders and the tree.
13. You have to buy a new water pistol because the first one broke when you tripped and fell on it while simultaneously chasing the squirrels from the feeder, pulling up your slacks, and tripping over the birds' water dish.
14. You purchase a new water pistol with the sole intent to use it to squirt water at squirrels but you lie to the young salesperson and say it's for your grandson.
15. Your neighbor's wife gives you a new water pistol that squirts a stream of water 35 feet so you don't have to run so far into your backyard chasing squirrels from your feeders.
16. While chasing squirrels from bird feeders, you can squirt two squirrels at once using two water pistols, one in each hand.
17. You learn the hard way that squirting a water pistol at a squirrel sitting on a limb over your head results in the water falling back down on your head.
18. While running after squirrels to chase them from your feeders, you discover that your 60-year old knees give out much sooner than a squirrel's knees.
19. You learned that you can get really wet if you try to chase squirrels away from your feeders by squirting a water pistol at them through a closed screen door.
20. You become proficient enough with your new water pistol with its 35' range that you can stand inside your open patio screen door and squirt squirrels eating under your bird feeders.
21. You can stand inside your open patio screen door and squirt squirrels with your new water pistol without scaring off any of the birds at your feeders.
22. Your neighbor asks why he no longer sees you running through the yard chasing squirrels since it was so effective at keeping the squirrels away from his bird houses.
23. You buy a Havahart squirrel trap and give it to your neighbor so he can re-locate the neighborhood squirrels that are bothering his backyard birds.
24. You chase squirrels away from your feeders and into your neighbor's yard by running through the yard, yelling wildly, and squirting them with your water pistols.
25. Only as a last resort, when it's raining or snowing, do you resort to chasing squirrels from your feeders by standing at your open patio door and barking loudly at them.
26. Your neighbor keeps asking how you trained your dog to bark loudly from the patio door to scare squirrels away from your feeders and you begin to seriously consider getting a dog.
27. The first trick you teach your new puppy is to chase squirrels away from your feeders.
28. You always buy a second loaf of bread for the birds during your weekly trip to the grocery store.
29. You frequently go to the grocery between weekly trips just to buy bread for the birds.
30. You have to go back to the grocery for the puppy food you forgot on the first trip but, by the time you get there, you've forgotten the puppy food and buy another loaf of bread for the birds instead.
31. It consistently takes three trips to the grocery to buy puppy food but you don't mind since you always have at least three loaves of bread on hand for the birds.
32. You give your puppy extra treats for chasing the squirrels away from your feeders, past your tree, and toward the Havahart trap in your neighbor's yard.
33. Your puppy spends most of the day watching through the patio door for a squirrel to enter your yard.
34. You call and order delivery of two extra-large pizzas for the sole purpose of acquiring enough cardboard to construct roofs to keep the predicted snow off your four hanging bird feeders.
35. You always shovel snow off the grass under and around the bird feeders.
36. You never remember to shovel snow from a patch of grass that your puppy can use so he won't mess up the grass under the bird feeders until after you've shoveled snow from the grass under the bird feeders, gone back into the house, removed your wet clothes and shoes, and changed into dry clothing.
37. By the time you shovel snow from a huge patch of grass under the bird feeders and another huge patch of grass for your puppy to use, there's very little snow left in your backyard.
38. Your driveway and walk never get shoveled because you're always completely exhausted after shoveling almost your entire backyard for the birds and dog.
39. You discover that the snow blower can remove snow from the grassy area under your bird feeders.
40. You bring wet bird feeders inside and use a hair dryer to dry them without emptying them.
41. You frequently have to vacuum the bathroom floor to pick up the birdseed that fell out of the bird feeders as you were drying them with the hair dryer.
42. In winter, you put a ground feeder on the patio next to the house and position it by the clothes dryer vent so the birds can stay warm while you dry one piece of wash at a time during daylight feeding hours.
43. You know a Blue Jay can fly off with an entire piece of fresh bread before you can get back in the house and close the patio door.
44. You find that you can place a piece of bread by the bird feeders and get back inside the house in plenty of time to see the Blue Jay if you start when you first hear it screeching in the neighborhood as it works its way, house by house, to yours.
45. You know the Blue Jay you want to see will visit at least 10 houses on your street before he gets to your backyard.
46. Your new puppy runs to the patio door every time she hears a Blue Jay screeching anywhere in the neighborhood.
47. You can stand in your patio door and throw a whole piece of fresh bread, making it sail like a Frisbee, across 25 feet of concrete patio to the grassy area under your bird feeders.
48. You know that toasted or stale bread won't sail across the yard as far as fresh bread and that your visiting birds rarely eat stale bread anyway.
49. You put out fresh bread for the birds and eat the stale bread yourself.
50. You can identify correctly at least three bird species that can fly off with an entire piece of fresh bread.
51. You routinely attract visiting birds by cutting a piece of Wonder sandwich bread into 256 small pieces.
52. You meticulously document how many pieces of bread each bird species eats and how many, if any, each carries off.
53. You know a Blue Jay averages eating 5 pieces of bread and carrying off an additional 4 pieces, a Northern Flicker averages eating 4 pieces and carrying off 5 pieces, a Starling averages eating 9 pieces but carries none away, a Red-bellied Woodpecker averages eating 2 pieces and flying away with 4 more, a House Sparrow averages 3 pecks at one piece of bread before flying off with the same piece of bread, a Mockingbird passes on the bread unless it sees a Blue Jay or Flicker eating bread at which time it will eat an average of 3 pieces of bread and carry away only 1 piece, and a Cardinal also passes on bread unless it sees a Blue Jay AND a Flicker eating bread at which time it eats only 1 piece of bread but never carries any away.
54. While there are no birds visiting your feeders, you spend your time figuring out that 256 small pieces of bread will feed 3 Blue Jays, 1 Flicker, 21 Starlings, 1 Woodpecker, 1 Mockingbird, 1 Cardinal, and 20 Sparrows … or ……..
55. You can eat an entire meal without taking the binoculars down from your eyes.
56. Everyone believes you when you tell them you got your two black eyes when you were counting birds and you accidentally picked up the binoculars instead of your reading glasses and shoved them onto your nose.
57. The IRS returns your Income Tax form with a stern note to the effect that it's illegal to claim as a charitable donation the cost of birdseed incurred while supporting Cornell University during their last Project FeederWatch project.
58. You find yourself explaining to the nice IRS man that your charitable donation for 2 extra-large pizzas is perfectly legal because you used the cardboard pizza boxes to make covers to keep the snow off your four hanging bird feeders so you could more accurately report Project FeederWatch bird counts to Cornell University.
--- from Anita Riechers, retired pre-birder from the greater St. Louis area
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