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The Wild Side: Birds enjoy a late Christmas breakfast

By Scott Shalaway
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Every December I get requests to reprint my take-off on 'Twas the Night before Christmas that first appeared in 1988. By popular demand, Merry Christmas everyone!The Morning of Christmas (with apologies to Clement C. Moore)'Twas the morning of Christmas, and all 'round the house, the feeders were empty, not enough for a mouse.Each feeder was hung from its perch with great care, but on this frosty morning, the cupboards were bare.Tubes, trays and suet bags ... too many to mention. In the Christmas Eve rush they'd escaped my attention.The rising sun on the breast of the new fallen snow, accented the vacuum in the feeders below. I couldn't believe it, I'd stayed up too late. I'd forgotten my friends on this most special date.A ravenous flock perched in dawn's early light, reminding me clearly of last night's oversight. Impatient, they perched in an old apple tree. Famished and anxious, some scolded me.Ashamed and embarrassed, I flew down the stairs, I whistled and shouted like a big, angry bear. "Now Linda, now Nora, and Emma, you too! We've got empty feeders, there's so much to do!"I spoke no more words, we all went to work. We filled every feeder -- I'd been a real jerk.
The birds quickly forgave me and flocked to the food. I knew in moment, they'd lost their foul mood.Cardinals and grosbeaks and nuthatches, too, were first to arrive at my backyard bird zoo.The sunflower seed disappeared with great speed. I smiled contently, I'd fixed my misdeed.Then finches and siskins sought the feeder with thistle. They flew so intently, each looked like a missile.Soon sparrows and juncos ventured onto the tray, hungrily joining the late breakfast fray.Even the water dish pulled in a crowd, the titmice and chickadees were certainly loud.
When woodpeckers finally found the fresh suet, we were completely forgiven, the whole family knew it.I began to feel better, I'd made up for my goof, when suddenly a voice caught my ear from the roof. (You may not believe this, but I swear it's the truth.) From a perch at the top, sang a sassy blue jay, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good day!"Send questions and comments to Dr. Scott Shalaway, 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033 or via my website,
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