Guess Who-oo’s Coming To Dinner

Published 10:43 am Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye;

Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.

“Those birds are in the cherry tree again,” my spouse informed me as he came in from the garden.

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I looked out the kitchen window, and sure enough, the cherry tree in the back yard was a veritable bird reunion in progress. Predominant were the crows, maybe not “four and twenty,” but enough to pose a serious threat to my pie-making plans.

Brandishing a dishtowel, I charged out the door.

“Shoo,” I yelled at the pie pilferers.

Beady eyes turned in my direction as each little birdbrain processed the threat of a towel-toting woman bearing down on their free lunch. Even birds seem to realize that there are times when there is no such thing as a free lunch. Almost in unison, the birds lifted off, but not without lifting some plump red cherries “to go.”

It was a real pie-in-the-sky moment, to be sure. As I watched, thoughts of warm cherry cobblers on cold winter nights literally flew away.

Stomping back into the kitchen I told my husband, “What we need is a scarecrow!”

“Won’t work,” he said. Looking up from his evening crossword puzzle he added, “Nothing stops crows.”

“We’ll see,” I said.

The next day I did some research. Crows aren’t afraid of much, but there is one predator that basically turns them into, pardon the expression, chickens. Crows don’t like owls. The problem is, owls don’t routinely make daytime appearances, and I wasn’t sure how to go about persuading one to perch in my backyard until the cherries were harvested.

I went back to the Internet and discovered garden owls, the latest trend in scarecrows. A fake owl was worth a try!

With that thought in mind I headed for Wal Mart.

I could only hope that Wal Mart’s motto, “Save Money. Live Better,” applied to owls and cherry trees. If Al, my new owl buddy, kept the crows out of the cherry tree I would definitely save money — and live better, too!

“This is Al,” I said as I made introductions at home.

The cats were not impressed, and neither was my spouse.

“Just wait and see,” I said as I went in search of a stepladder and a roll of duct tape.

Within the hour, Al was duct taped to the top of the ladder about three feet from the cherry tree. My bird buffer was in place, and I was ready to reap the rewards.

“Funny thing,” my spouse conceded a few days later. “I haven’t seen any birds in the cherry tree today.”

“Imagine that,” I said with a nod in Al’s direction.

“The owl can hang around in the garden any time he wants,” my husband added on his way inside to clean up.

Al would have winked if it weren’t for his plastic eyebrows.

When I came in the kitchen later in the week there was a pail of ripe red cherries on the counter.

“Thanks for picking the cherries,” I called to my husband, who was watching a baseball game in the den.

He nodded.

Nothing was said about “eating crow.”

Al the owl, promoted to garden watch owl, practices the art of camouflage while keeping an eye on the pole beans. (Photo by Marge Swayne)

Al the owl, promoted to garden watch owl, practices the art of camouflage while keeping an eye on the pole beans. (Photo by Marge Swayne)