We sat back drinking & watching them or rather I watched apart from the others. I watched the birds descend & vie for leverage on the rim of the feeder & bob down for a sunflower seed in the mix. When one came up with a seed it gorged it or else one of the others would take it away. Of course this was comical to the bar stool groupings, for the seed pile rose high & there was plenty to be had. Not everyone was tranced by the bird show. Parking Wars was on the corner mounted flat screen. The drama of Detroit ticket writers booting cars & tow truck drivers hauling them away was compelling. The birds were a welcome but not frequent diversion. A discussion was mounting in earnest pro & con about the cancellation of Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Sometimes a bird would make a quick strike, snatch his prize & soar away. When one chose this strategy he would head to a nearby wood lot. Sometimes they could be seen perched & waiting in a big oak only fifty feet away. Others flew to the twin pines further away that grew by a gas station on the highway if there was no pump business. The pine boughs were heavy with thick cover to hide & wait to return. I liked when one by one they flew to the oak & spread out in the big gnarled limbs with dying sparse leaves in a fearful symmetry, moving about from limb to limb. Nervous movement that made the tree palpitate in the blue sky.
When a customer would order a drink the bartender would rise from her stool at the end of the bar by the TV to draw a draft beer at center bar or scoop ice and pull bottles to mix a drink or stoop into a lower cooler to retrieve bottle beer with her skirt rising up. Flashing leg. Her top rising up her back. A glimpse of tramp stamp. The movement near the bird feeding station would send all the birds away to the oak or twin pines or out of sight. When she delivered the drinks a few birds would quickly return. These were the especially anxious & vicious ones. When she moved back to center bar after the exchange of money for the cash register, these malefic ones would drop what they had & fly for someplace beyond the black oak or pines. They were easily startled & quick tempered. They would not return until a safe crowd would gather at the seed trough again.