Shopping Siren saw her first robin of the season the other day.
There was jumping for joy. Literally. Jumping and shouting and pointing and a bit of weeping because, thank Mother Nature, robins mean winter is finally, finally ending.
The robin, for its part, was startled and quickly flew away, likely to find a yard that did not contain a hysterical human.
But where there’s one robin, another is sure to follow. Since that wonderful, sun-shiny day last week, I’ve seen a couple more. Their presence still makes me want to weep.
It was a pretty bad winter.
Which got me thinking: How can I keep these new feathered friends around for a while?
The solution: Birdhouses and bird feeders.
And less jumping and shrieking, obviously. But that will take more time.
• Ceramic birdhouse by CherieGiampietro, Etsy, $95
Handmade by a Farmington artist, this stoneware birdhouse features hand-stamped tiles, a little front perch for tiny residents to land on and a wide roof and overhang to keep them dry. There’s no removable panel for cleaning, but drainage holes in the bottom allow water to drip away. Plus, I’m absolutely sure any bird would be so proud of this home that they’d keep it clean themselves. Pretty sure.
• Adobe-style birdhouse by MountainviewKrafts, Etsy, $50
Wooden birdhouse shaped like an adobe-style human home, complete with a little ceramic vase and faux cactuses (cacti?) on a front porch. House comes in yellow or terra cotta color and buyers can choose how they want to be able to mount it: on a post, on a wall or hung on a chain. I’m unsure what prompted a West Paris artist to make a very Arizona-like birdhouse design, but it’s certain to stand out from all the lighthouses and buoys Maine birds have to choose from.
• Droll Yankee Flipper bird feeder, Paris Farmers Union, $159.09
Tube-like feeder that holds up to 5 pounds of birdseed and comes with a surprise: a motorized perch ring that spins like a Tilt-A-Whirl when a squirrel hops on. Not sure if that will repel or attract squirrels (Tilt-A-Whirls being, you know, fun), but give it a try and see what happens. And maybe leave some squirrel food elsewhere for the furry little guys.
I should note here that state officials this week warned homeowners that they’ve had 27 complaints about nuisance black bears so far this spring and that bird feeders can attract said bears. So bird-feed with caution. I’m pretty sure the Yankee Flipper doesn’t flip bears.
• Aspen Buffet Window Feeder, Paris Farmers Union, $27.99
Clear little feeder that suction cups to a window and features not one but two seed bowls. Perfect for picky birds who don’t like their sunflower seeds and cracked corn to touch.
• Stacks cat-shaped birdhouse, Paris Farmers Union, $61.49
The package says this cat-shaped wooden birdhouse is particularly great for wrens and chickadees. Maybe the other birds just get too creeped out about entering a cat’s mouth every time they want to go home? That’s my guess.
• Royal Wing white swing bird feeder, Tractor Supply Co., $19.99
Shaped like a porch swing, this platform feeder holds up to 2 pounds of food and is easy to clean. It’ll look adorable next to your human porch swing! But that one better be easy to clean, too, if you place this food-covered one nearby.
• More Birds Bliss hummingbird feeder, Tractor Supply Co., $5.99
Little plastic basic feeder with five slots for five hungry hummingbirds. And now, “Five Hungry Hummingbirds” is going to be my new band name.
Best find: Home Bazaar bird houses, Paris Farmers Union, $27.99 to $37.49
Cottage-style houses complete with shutters, shingles and, in a couple of cases, window boxes bearing teeny-tiny fake flowers. So cute and homey your birds will never want to leave, no matter how much joyful shouting and jumping you’re prone to.
Think twice: Songbird Essentials outhouse birdhouse, Paris Farmers Union, $16.19
Is it a birdhouse? Is it an outhouse? The world may never know! OK, actually, it’s obviously a birdhouse. But give your birds both a little dignity and a home. Maybe they’ll stick around for a while.
Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who are currently shedding enough for 50 dogs) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Songbird Essentials outhouse birdhouse from Paris Farmers Union.