The hammering stopped. My husband opened the lid. A 20-pound bag of peanuts spilled into the new bird feeder. He stepped back to join me.
Dappled sunlight filtered through the cedar branches landing on the feeder. A Stellar’s Jay’s raucous call danced between the trees. Branches rustled. Wings fluttered overhead.
A young raccoon climbed down the cedar behind the feeder. He tiptoed the ten feet to the 4” X 4” post, climbed eight feet to the new banquet center and straddled the roof.
With his man-hand paw, he reach under the eave and extracted the first peanut. Our first customer.
Woodpecker Lumber went out of business four years later when all forty pounds of Bob— named for the loss of his tail to a motorist—straddled it for the last time.
Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop.
The fasteners buckled. The banquet center teetered. Bob squealed. The feeder rocked backwards with Bob, and the earth caught them.
Bob laid on the ground and took a deep breath. He shook his big head and pushed the feeder from his belly. He righted himself like he waded through jelly. He pried open the feeder’s top and finished his last meal. He burped long and low, and a squirrel dashed up a tree with zeal.
Bob washed his face in the birdbath and sauntered into the greenbelt.
We stopped feeding the birds.