Tangled Web

Deceptions of a transgender guy

Tuppence a bag


If you remember the song, “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag…”, you are not so young any more. The song featured in the 1964 film, Mary Poppins, a role played by Julie Andrews. It is known to have been Walt Disney’s favorite song.

I’m not overly fond of birds, but I admire them from afar, as I have ornithophobia, the fear of birds. It probably has its roots in my childhood when we lived in the country and often had bats in the house. I remember my dad chasing them with a tennis racket – but I digress.


Huddling together against the cold.

A few weeks ago, a couple of black throated sparrows decided to start overnighting on a beam under our back porch. Maybe they thought it would be convenient to have their bed close to their breakfast, regularly provided by B on our front lawn.

I never knew pigeons had so many bullies! It is a constant, “Leave that seed, it is mine!” “Is not, I saw it first!” [Chase ensues.]

And then sprinkled in between the pigeons, are the wagtails and sparrows, trying to get in a peck or two.


Breakfast on the lawn – sparrows, wagtails and pigeons vying for seeds.

What goes in, must come out. Who would have thought such small birds can excrete so much poop during one night! I felt sorry for our domestic worker, who cleaned the tiles every day, so I bought a plastic pan which I lined with newspaper. For a few nights, the pan and their aim, worked well. But then they decided to use a different beam to overnight. The result? Poop on the tiles. Again. I moved the pan. They moved to another beam. We played this game of hit and miss for a while, until they settled on the first beam.

Hit and miss

Hit (mostly)                                                                                                Miss

Then one night only one came to sleep over. We were worried about the other one, as there are roaming cats in the complex where we live, but the next night they both were back, to our joy. We speculated what could have happened – do sparrows quarrel?

Since a few nights ago, they did not come to sleep over. We are concerned about their well-being, but maybe they have found a B&B that also serves supper.

May they be safe.

Note: Feed the birds by a very young Julie Andrews.


Author: Kris

Hi! I'm Kris. I live in South Africa with my life partner of 27+ years, whom I call B or Madam in my posts. We have a Pug dog child, Remi, also known as Pooch, who has graced and enriched our lives for the past 12 years.

9 thoughts on “Tuppence a bag

  1. I like birds but would never have one as an indoor pet. We have a huge array of birds in the neighbourhood – crows, gulls, ducks, starlings, blackbirds, robins – as well as cute songbirds like chickadees and goldfinches. I do know one other person with ornithophobia. Is it hard for you to spend time outdoors because of it?


    • No, not at all. I keep a lookout for flying birds, but as long as they are on the ground, I just steer clear of them. I guess it is the flapping of their wings that triggers my phobia. I believe birds belong outdoors, in nature, free.

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  2. We have wrens for the first time in a DIY birdhouse kit I made with the kids. I’m way more excited than the children are. I put a small dish of seeds nearby and watch happily while parent birds fly back and forth feeding themselves and babies. Then I realized there is poop all over our porch. And then one shit on my head. I was a little less excited about it all that day.

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  3. You all sound like us. We’re on our 3rd nest of baby wrens this season and we check them every day to make sure they’e still alive and worry when the mommy doesn’t come around for a while. The last nest ended up on the wreath on our front door so we have not been going in or out of the house through that door and won’t until the babies leave the nest. Then, both the wreath and the nest will be coming down and we will reclaim our front porch again. Enjoy your birdies.