There has been a lot of fowl talk going on around here lately, and I’m not talking politics. I’m back on the subject of chickens in Riverside. I’ve already expressed my opinion on that — which is “no” — but I do have an alternative, which is educational, cheap, not messy and can be enjoyed by all in the family. I refer to the birds.

Now, our backyard in the past few weeks has been host to a pair of coyotes, squirrels, rabbits, a lumbering raccoon and a skunk, who is cute (I must be thinking of Petunia from Bambi). However, I did not want to get close to the animal to express my opinion for fear he would “express” himself.

Most of the guests or inhabitants in our backyard are of the feathered kind who have put out the word within a three-mile radius that Kosey’s Diner for Birds is open at all hours, for our feeders are in constant need to be refilled, which is Husband Joe’s job. I cook for humans.

Our backyard bird paradise has numerous feeders, birdhouses and a birdbath, which is sometimes heated. Our feeders supposedly have “baffles” to deter the squirrels, but Rocky the Flying Squirrel is not baffled at all. He gets up there and drops seeds for his buddies. This goes on year-round, since squirrels cannot remember where they put their stash of food.

Now here is what I suggest: Go to For the Birds at 9207 Broadway Ave. in Brookfield and talk to Keith Brennan to get you started. Get simple bird feeder, a book on birds and a pair of binoculars. 

Once the birds have caught on, you’ll have a new place on the block where you will spend time watching the goings on. I have always been amazed at how the different birds get along, even with the squirrels. Lesson to be learned there (politicians take note). They know when the hawk is around and they take off.

I recommend this highly. Even if the kids get bored with it, you will still have one of the enjoyments of nature without the hassle. Right now we have so many cardinals in the yard that we refer to it as The Vatican. 

Oh, and don’t forget, you can be an early bird and vote early — even on the weekend — through the end of the week. There’s no excuse. Check the Cook County Clerk’s website for locations and fly on over.

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