Dear Sharon

Dear Sharon, You asked me to keep an eye on things while you're at the World Series of Birding (really? They call it that?). I'll have an update about bee related things soon, but I thought you'd be interested to know about what was happening at Mr. Neil's hives while I got the bee gear together.

I filled all the feeders, and the birds must have been starving, because as soon as I walked away, they were all over that noise. You would have been so happy: it was a veritable rainbow of birds: all the way from brown, to umber, to burnt umber, to light brown. It was dazzling. Unfortunately, there were, as always, some troublemakers. I'm not sure from what level of hell arose this not-brown monstrosity, but I knew you'd be cheesed if this type of creature came nosing around your feeders.

While I tried to figure out what to do, it made its way down to the feeder full of jelly you'd set out to nourish Common Sparrows, Very Common Finches, and Downright Mundane Looks Like Bits of Bark Birds.

How best to handle this? You left me in charge of the feeders for one weekend, and look what happened! What was this horrible half-bird half-crayon!? Surely its presence at the feeder would prove that I was a failure not only as a husband, but as a human being as well. How to proceed? I was perplexed, and to make matters worse, an even more colorful (ptui!) bird showed up right after it!

Ack! Shoo! Get out of here! You're endangering my marriage with your vibrant markings!

Back! Back I say! Back to the fiery pits that spawned ye!

I don't think he was listening.

Eventually, though, he took off and some bird with dark brown marks on its grey-brown body settled in. I enjoyed a sigh of relief, confident that the crisis had past, and as long as I kept my mouth shut, you'd be none the wiser...