We have ants in our bird feeder. Or maybe we have birds in our ant feeder.
In this week of Olympic records and Martian landings, it might seem like an odd thing to note, but these ants have been fascinating me all summer long.
While we humans bemoan the second year of a fierce drought, the ants are having a banner season. I would expect rock-hard ground and scorching temperatures to discourage them, but instead, I have seen an explosion of new beds. (Prairie dogs are thriving, too, but thankfully have yet to discover my bird feeder.)
The tenacious ants that have laid claim to the bird seed travel a path a good hundred yards across our lawn. With the skill of miniscule ninjas, they scale the 4-foot pipe, walk upside down under the feeder, then clamber over the edge and arrive in paradise ... or in this case, the stash of mixed seeds we make available for the local birds.
It’s impressive to see an ant hoist a grain of wheat into the air and start the climb down the pole.
Maybe next time around we should opt for the Insect Olympics. Think how impressive they’ll look, magnified ten thousand times, on a box of Wheaties.
Betty Williamson rarely stops to smell roses, but often stops to investigate insects.
You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.