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It is not enough to merely admire, or even help care for, backyard wildlife, Pamela Loxley Drake writes.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeWe sat at the kitchen window, my father and me.

The bird feeder hung in the red maple. As we drank our coffee, the birds partook of their grain-filled breakfast. Sometimes Dad would call Mom over to check out a new visitor to the feeder.

The window had reflected many faces sitting there watching the feeder. Never were they bored.

Loren and I are completely into our birds.

Note: As cute as squirrels might be, they are not welcome at the seed table. At least three suet feeders have been knocked down and one is still missing. After trying every possible friendly way to rid our unwelcome visitors, we removed the crook and feeders. This year, I put up a new feeder on a swinging hook attached to the house. Again, this laid in ruins on the ground below.

Soon another was there to replace it. This time it was a smaller one, feeding only the smaller birds. The squirrel climbed onto the deck railing and shimmied up the crook.

Now, we love to watch our birds. We sit in the house, content to watch the comings and goings, the new fledglings and the silly battles that ensue. I refused to give up on our "window" into the life of our birds.

Thus, I invented a deterrent that keeps the furry tailed critters away.

Oh, they cuss and swear at us. The blue jay whines and complains.

Our little feathered friends eat in peace. They eat a great deal of food in peace.

For years, we have had a hummingbird feeder. When winter comes, we move the feeders to the windows protected by the deck roof.

In the summer, we plant flowers and set out feeders to keep them all happy.

So, what is the meaning of this bird-brain story?

As with the bees, we are teaching the twins what it is to be responsible environmentalist. They learn about birds and are excited to find a new one in the bird book. Last year, they gathered feathers (rather like the way they picked up black bear fur in Black Butte, Oregon) to put into our nature box by the front door. Their parents recycle and are careful of what they use on their yard protecting the wildlife that lives there. (However, the bunny eating their new grass just might step into the live trap and find a new home.)

With global warming, we must adjust the types of plants and trees to meet the need of our birds, bees and butterflies.

I learned early in life from an environmentalist to be one as well. The steps we take, be they large or small, will impact our earth, our children, our birds, our bees, our futures.

Don't just sit at the window.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl." You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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