Flipping the Bird(s)

Protective Turtle

Protective turtle overlooking the maple forest

For the past several weeks, I’ve had a daybreak routine. Every morning, when my sweaty, stinky self pulled into the driveway after yoga, I’d scare off a flock of birds. Granted, if I’d have pulled into a Starbucks drive through in that state, I’d probably have scared off a pack of grande latte-making baristas. But these were birds so I will simply assume that it was the truck engine, and not me, that scattered them to the wind. At first I couldn’t tell why they were congregating for their morning meditation in the driveway when there were plenty of other places in our yard to be contemplative birds – the full feeder or the Calgon bath for example.

Calgon, take the birds away

Calgon, take the birds away (credit contained within)

Then I realized what they were up to. They were foraging through the carefully placed moss on my bonsai plants, evidently looking for a more appealing breakfast than the Ace Hardware brand birdseed I’d lovingly selected for them. This wouldn’t have bothered me much, since I’m all about birds AND bonsai, but the little birdies were flipping the moss and soil off my trees. And that just made me want to flip THEM off – yes, you can give a bird the bird.

As you might guess, much of my post-yoga glow was quickly flapped away as I picked up moss around the bonsai display tables every morning and put it back on top of the soil.

My bonsai teacher, Dr. R., does not have this problem or I’m sure he would have told me how to remedy the situation. But on a visit to another Atlanta Bonsai Society member’s collection, I saw fake snakes all over his display tables. He said it was to keep the pests away, but that he had to move them around daily or the vermin would figure out they were just plastic with no real bite.

fire-spitting snake

fire-spitting snake protecting the ginkgo

So last Friday night, Doc B. made me walk up to the dollar store with her. She said it’d be good for us to get out and walk after our meal. I agreed but really had no interest in going into the dollar store. In fact, when they first moved into the neighborhood, I swore I’d never go there. That swearing didn’t last long – probably because I didn’t do it with my hand on a bible. But Doc B. assured me this trip would be for a good purpose, so I followed her in. I couldn’t figure out why we were wandering the grungy aisles of the toy section until she came around the corner with a big smile on her face and some plastic lizards in her hand. We walked them home, placed them around the trees and damned if they didn’t work! Next morning, no flipped off moss and no flipped off birds.

Lizard demons

Lizard demons

So Doc B stopped at another dollar store this week and found a snake – I’ve added it to the collection and so far so good.

$1.00 fire-spitting snake

$1.00 fire-spitting snake

And as usual, yoga mirrors life. If you have an hour to spare, you can check out this link where there is a discussion of how turtles, fire-spitting snakes and demons apply to your yoga practice.

By the way, I’ve heard that strong odors also keep birds away; maybe my bonsai display benches should be where I toss my yoga clothes after class?


4 thoughts on “Flipping the Bird(s)

  1. Careful what you say about The Dollar Tree, Inc. It’s my favorite place to select birthday cards…they cost only 1 cent more than the postage required to send them….and Doc. B should be receiving one tomorrow :). xoxoxo Mom

  2. we also tried the plastic snake remedy for – not birds – but squirrels….and chip and dale monks. they will NOT let us have any of our tomatoes…they are very selfish little critters. guess we did not move them around enough cause they are still taking the tomatoes….

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