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I think the birds have put out a contract on me. Warnings haven’t worked, and they’ve decided it’s time for more drastic action. And fast–before blueberry season is over.

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The bushes in question, full of about 87,000 big, juicy blueberries. I counted. So did the birds.

You see, I’ve developed a real taste for the blueberries ripening in my backyard–four bushes’ worth of gloriously huge, sweet berries. The birds tell me they have prior claim and they’ve been waiting all summer for their berries to ripen…just as I horn in.

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Worse still, I’m taking all the ripe ones, and making big, smacking “mmmmmmmmm” noises when I do it. I figure there are plenty of berries for everyone, but the birds just don’t see it that way. To them, I’m picking their berries, and it’s gotta stop.

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Actually, that’s wrong–you don’t PICK blueberries. They pick you. I’ve learned to tickle a cluster of big, midnight-blue berries, gently stroke them and wiggle them on their stems just a tiny bit. Done right, the sweetest and juiciest fall right into your hand, leaving the rest on the branch to sugar up.

You don’t get as many berries that way, but the ones you do get have amazing flavor. On hot days, you can tickle berries once in the morning, once in the evening, and see how many actually make it into the house and not your mouth.

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The results of this morning's blueberry tickling session.

I may OD on berries, which is really ticking off the birds. This weekend I noticed a dozen or so birds of assorted sizes and colors, perched on the trees and fence near the berries. They were making wild birdnoise, a pleasing serenade for the munching of blueberries.

It was puzzling, though; normally I can’t get within 20 feet of the backyard birds. I could reach out a hand and nearly touch these; they’d flutter just out of reach and settle back down.

Then one divebombed my head, to raucous applause, and I got the message: Get the heck out of our berry bushes. I noticed, here and there, beak marks in the darkest, ripest berries. I got lots of pointed, beady-eyed looks.

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Glares, really.

Of course, when you get right down to it, they do have a point: I’m not a frequent a visitor to my backyard (except in blueberry season), while they live there. From the perspective of eminent domain, they may have the stronger moral claim to the blueberries.

Yet I have the deed, I pay the mortgage and I’m a lot bigger than they are. And I really love these blueberries. Had ’em for breakfast, in fact. Yum.

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I’ve considered putting up birdnetting, preventing the birds from reaching the berries at all. Seems like poor sportsmanship, though. I could put up aluminum foil and jangly windchimes, maybe a scarecrow, to frighten the birds away, but it kinda seems like overkill. And if these birds aren’t bothered by ME in the middle of the blueberry patch, is a dead guy made out of straw gonna do any better?

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Frankly, though, I’d rather share. I don’t mind letting the birds have a few berries (although I wish they’d pick one and eat it rather than taking  one nip each out of the best). The question is, though, whether the birds will agree to sharing. Right now they don’t seem amenable to compromise.

If I suddenly stop blogging, I’ve either been taken care of…or I’m out eating blueberries.