Time Suck by Choice or By Nature

My new healthy lifestyle is off to a good start. I haven’t had a truffle. I bought a Fitbit. The very first day I walked over 10,200 steps. Here‘s an article about the origins of the 10,000 step goal.


Every year, around this time, a bird attacks a certain window on the back of my house. The first couple of years it was a larger bird, similar to a starling although probably a more mild-mannered species and a bit smaller. Peck peck peck at the windowpane.

I find it very upsetting because I know that birds need to eat all day long–and any bird who spends hours pecking at a pane of glass is not eating enough food. Β I always run outside with a broom to shoo it away, but it comes back the moment my back is turned. Let’s assume it’s been a different bird every year, but I can’t be sure.

This year a smaller bird is going after the window, but he isn’t just pecking.

What do you think he’s doing? She’s doing?

Somebody told me that the shiny film that “tints” the windows creates a mirror for a bird. He sees himself in the mirror and thinks he is seeing another bird. So are these birds trying to mate with their own reflections? Can’t birds tell when another bird is a male or female? When the bird was just pecking, I figured it was a male thinking he was attacking another male. But this behavior looks a little different. In fact, it almost looks like the bird is trying to jump up to see inside the house!

Before you laugh dismissively, thinking I’m being whimsical, let me tell you that one time, when I was sitting at the computer, a young bunny ran up to the glass door. He stood on his hind legs and peered into the house, very obviously trying to see inside.

I’ve been thinking about this poor bird. Although I keep trying to scare him away, he always comes back, wasting his valuable feeding time. Does he do it because he chooses to do so or is it part of his bird nature?

Will this baby bird grow up to be as silly as the adult birds?

baby bird

I started to wonder how often I’m like that bird, wasting my precious time on something that doesn’t “feed” me in a nourishing way. All those times I sit there with a numbed brain scrolling through my Facebook home page. That’s a time suck that has to go.

What do you waste your valuable time on?




Filed under Blogging, Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Nonfiction, Photographs

50 responses to “Time Suck by Choice or By Nature

  1. Sometimes it’s not a waste. It’s your mind rebooting while you are looking at mindless stuff. (At least that’s what I’m telling myself and don’t burst my bubble!) As for the bird, we have big windows in the back of our house and occasionally get the critters flattened again the door looking in. Of course, there is usually a cat on the other side howling her heart out.

    • Kate, sorry I’ve had a complicated migraine and haven’t been up to blogging. Yes, rebooting haha. Aw, so they want to see who is howling at them? What I love is when two cats are looking out the window at the same time, see “someone” they don’t like, and then they snap at each other ;)!

  2. I love watching the birds…that’s when I do some of my best thinking. πŸ™‚ The bird in the video looks as though he’s courting himself/herself. Typically when they see their reflection they think it’s another bird or perhaps he just likes to look at himself.
    I thought of you yesterday, Luanne. I got my blood work back from my recent physical. My good cholesterol increased by eight points since last year and my bad went down five. These results support my theory…CHEESE IS GOOD and so are eggs…and wine. πŸ™‚

    • Yes, maybe he is courting himself because he’s more eager than the ones who just want to peck at the window. But can’t he tell (if he’s a he) it’s’ not a girl bird LOL? Or does he just think he’s so attractive?
      Good for you!!! And soooooooo glad to know that cheese, eggs, and wine are good. I can pretty much live on those things!!!! xo

  3. I’m at work so I can’t view your video, but would it be possible to put a bird feeder near that window so the pecking won’t be in vain πŸ™‚ I too often complain to myself about all my “time wasting.” But Kate and Jill are right. Sometimes what you think is wasting time is really: (1) you’re giving your brain a much needed break; or (2) you’re stimulating a different part of your brain. In either case, you might come back to your writing with a fresh or at least different perspective, making time-wasting a win-win πŸ˜‰

    • Marie, ordinarily that would be a great idea. The problem with the bird feeder is that we had a really bad roof rat problem and finally discovered years ago it was caused by bird seed. Because I don’t want to tempt rats to a dicey fate in our attic (hubby so worried about them eating through wires) I don’t use bird seed any longer :(. I do think that playing Candy Crush and Solitaire can do that rebooting thing for me. But then maybe I take it too far . . . . And when I scroll through Facebook and am not even looking at anything, I need to push. away. from. computer.

      • That’s a good reason to not have a bird feeder there πŸ™‚ And, I agree, some “time sucks” can be a good reboot, but there’s that slippery slope of … just. one. more. game πŸ˜‰

  4. Ha! I read a lot of blogs but I don’t really consider it time wasted. I learn so very much about people. My husband lost his fit bit and he has been beside himself. He gets paid by our insurance company for his steps. Wish it would magically appear. If he had not let the battery die, he could have used the fit bit app on the phone to locate it, but we didn’t know that at the time.

    • You know, I never thought of blog reading as a time waste at all. I always learn stuff and love “chatting” with people. Your poor hubby! I forgot to put mine on this morning when I left the house and was 5 hours without it and about had a fit, so maybe that’s why it’s called fitbit ;). I feel sorry for him. There is a comfort in wearing it!

  5. Usually the birds pecking at their own reflection is a territorial thing. They feel that an intruder is invading their space. That’s my humble opinion, for what it’s worth.

  6. Luanne,
    I am very proud of you for getting off to a good start on your 10,000-step program…thank God you don’t have to memorize them!! πŸ™‚
    Seriously…good for you. Keep it up.

    • Hahaha, no kidding! Thanks, Sheila. I realize now that the steps are easy for me since I’m hyper, but the activity is hard. For some reason you have to get the heart rate going for 10 minutes before it even starts to count! So if I go on the elliptical for 20 minutes it only counts for 10, as an example. I find that a little depressing. Then I forgot to wear it for 5 hours today and missed recording all that stair climbing I did ;).

  7. Mom

    Luanne~ you are such a good scout! I have a fistful of lab orders and tests and poking/prodding procedures that I’m a little behind on. It’s too cold out, I have a deadline, the dog needs his heart worm meds. So, I’ve been naughty and putting them off, all of them…except for the ones that I can think up a good reward for. Example–I promised myself that if I would go to a dermatologist and have a base-line full body exam (as directed by one of my other docs) and endure the whole 10 minutes of close-up, magnifying and lighted goggle-wearing look-see on my naked skin…all of it…cracks and crannies inclusive–I would earn myself a trip to the other side of the hall at the same practice. The side where the nice ladies do facials, and botox, and all sorts of “look younger” procedures. That one got checked off the list in a hurry! Next up on the incentive program, I’m considering an “all I can stuff in” trip to Cheesecake Factory as a reward for doing my overdue colonoscopy! We’ll see how that one pans out as an incentive πŸ™‚

    • Hah, thanks! Oh those awful tests. Rewards are an excellent idea! I don’t know about Cheesecake Factory though! but MAYBE for a colonoscopy which I too am overdue for. Love the incentive idea and might try that out myself! You go take care of yourself!

      • Mom

        Ahhhh!!!! I just drew your name as one of the winners! Send me an email with your postal address to kassie dot aka dot mom at gmail dot com and I’ll get this in the mail to you….your very own copy of “Seeking John Campbell”. If I don’t hear from you by Thursday 1/15 at midnight (EST) I’ll draw another winner from the bowl. Congrats to you, Barabara and Neil!

  8. Great metaphor. But can watching birds be wasting time? I always feel like I’m learning something from them, although I can’t tell you what (!). In the yoga studio I attend, halfway through our poses the birds (black birds, I think) start knocking on the high windows, ceaselessly. Knock, knock, for almost an hour. It seems like an omen. Others believe as you suggest here, that they see their own reflection and think its another bird. Perhaps they just need a down dog in their lives!

    • No, I think bird watching cannot be waste of time! Wow, I love that anecdote about the yoga birds. I wonder what they are thinking while they do that. Maybe they think yoga is upending the universe and are worried ;). I will have a hard time getting this image out of my mind.

  9. Hmmmm. let me think… valuable time wasted on …. hmmm … on reading Luanne watching birds peck her window? Nah !!! That can’t be it πŸ™‚

    Actually when I lived in Michigan our kitchen had two large windows opposite each other and birds either pecked them (reflection) or flew full-tilt into one window because they saw through to the other side and didn’t realize there was a barrier. There must have been no reflection during that time of day. Sadly some died.

    And don’t even get me started on the two years our house in Boulder was attacked by woodpeckers.

    Nope no time wasting here…

    • Haha, got me there, Sammy! Oh that is so sad. I hate when birds fly into windows and die. If I lived where they did it repetitively I wouldn’t be able to stand it! Woodpeckers. Oh my! On another note, did you ever have flying squirrels in Michigan? At our cottage, they lived in the attic and the nest was close to my head because I had to sleep in the top bunk right under the door to the attic. Creepy . . . .

      • Luanne – I don’t remember flying squirrels. Your episodes would have terrorized me!! What I do remember is having black squirrels in town – they were either unique to our town or perhaps the county p, but not found elsewhere in Michigan. Our claim to fame !!

  10. Oh I know you’re right about the wildlife! We have a glass storm door, too, and we get birds, squirrels, and bunnies– occasionally even a raccoon or a chipmunk, stares into the house!
    I think my time suck is when I sit on the sofa and read blogs πŸ˜› but I’m gonna do it anyway!

    • Love love love this. Animals are the best–and having them interested in us and our weird lifestyles is hilarious.
      Really re the blogs? I don’t know. For some reason, I didn’t even think of that when I was writing this because I never feel as if blogs are a time suck (with the one exception of checking out new ones and you find a blog where the blogger has put no effort and basically says something like “I was in a bad mood today.” Um, ok). I think it’s because with the Facebook I was thinking about how I literally zone out when I read the news feed now. It’s come to bore me, maybe?

  11. I’m right there with you on the time suck – it’s either Facebook or the stupid online shopping I can do for hours (not buying anything, just endlessly browsing).

    • Yes, you are more of a shopper than I am, but I get some of my shopping done vicariously through your posts ;). Facebook is evil, I’m pretty sure.

  12. Hey guys, I’ll be responding tomorrow (I hope). I had a complicated migraine hit me in the middle of the night last night and haven’t felt well all day. xoxo

  13. I get way too involved in app games sometimes and after about a week I delete them once I get into repested “one more level” mode.

    • Oh, I am so proud of you for deleting them! I keep getting drawn in deeper and deeper. I will say I never pay any money for any games ever ever ever, but still I need to stop playing them!

  14. Congrats on your 10,000+ steps, you are off and running, so to speak! πŸ‘Ÿ

    • Thanks so much! The one frustrating part of my Fitbit One is that it doesn’t properly record my “active minutes.” But the steps are coming easy and now so are the miles. And the floor levels. But the activity is another matter!

  15. Aww…that poor little bird, it seems quite confused with it’s own image. I know the feeling, haha πŸ˜€ Great job with the walking and your new fitness regime. I love walking but got out of it over Christmas – horrible cough didn’t help – but am getting back in again. We can walk together πŸ™‚ I read your other post on Facebook…ha, and there I do agree it is a huge time suck when ending up endlessly scrolling and then wondering ‘what on earth am I doing?’ But it’s always great to catch up with you Luanne…crazy times but we do the best we can. Have a great weekend, I’m away with my boys, will catch up with you next week.

    • Oh, I hope you’re having a wonderful time with the boys! Yes, we need to walk together, one way or another. There is always a flight to Phoenix!!! I hope you’re feeling better. I’ve been having my migraine problems, but at least no cold, etc. Re confusion over your own image. Funny thing, but when I started to get old(er) looking I started to get confused, too. I expected to see that skinny girl with long brown hair in the mirror. OOPS, she’s gone.

      • That would be so great Luanne! I would love to come and see you and walk with you πŸ™‚ I am doing better thanks, at long last, but battling some kind of throat thing still…hope your migraine’s have settled down, they are awful, my daughter suffers from them. Ha..yes, darn that image we want to keep but somehow fades away. Well…we have our memories…so keep drinking that bubbly and we say cheers to that πŸ™„

  16. My social media feed is a distraction and at times, feels like a complete waste, but other times I learn something new about writing or read a post that makes me think. I am working on setting limitations – I think some amount of wasting time is good for you, but not so much that it hampers your overall productivity.

    • I do learn a lot through social media, etc. But for some reason, the Facebook news feed tends to make me sleep with my eyes open at this point and then I sit there doing nothing without realizing it. So many people have the same stuff over and over, you know what I mean?

  17. At one time we had a problem with birds flying into our kitchen through the open door – pigeons, starlings and one time, a canary. I love birds so I didn’t mind but it was just weird…anyway, well done with keeping up with your fitness goals. I’m constantly checking my email and then there are those days where I am sucked in by Facebook…awful time suck.

    • Yolanda, I can’t tell you how much I love this image of the birds flying in the house. That is how I would like to live!!!
      But, yes, the email checking and then checking FB and then Instagram and then who’s got what on Twitter. Terrible.

  18. Well done for your great start with your goals Luanne. I love the way you started with the bird and how that made you think about wasting time! Along with everyone else, other things on my computer distract me, or watching TV, or tidying up – anything if I’m in a procrastinating mood!

    • Andrea, isn’t it amazing what a little bird can make you think about?! I guess a little bird told me hahaha. Oh you are right–if we’re in a mood to procrastinate anything will do it. The twitchy tail on one of my cats is enough to mesmerize me for awhile ;).

  19. I thought the bird was jumping up to maybe catch something out of your view? If it was my house, there would be tons of spider webs and bird seed and insects. But that’s my house. Haha. And since you got a blog post out of your observations, you weren’t wasting time at all!

  20. I think the bird is catching glimpses of her reflection and is mesmerized, so she jumps and jumps for another peek. I also think the bird question is a secret Rorschach test πŸ™‚ Congrats on the fit bit; won’t think about the loss of truffles.

  21. I waste time by trying to pull my mind together by playing games and doing puzzles. But is it really a waste if it works? Your care of and interest in animals is not a waste of time.

    • I don’t think that puzzles are ever a waste of time. I like to do them, too. But mindless FB newsfeed scanning when you’re not really paying attention is just dumb. I might be taking on a new animal project before too long . . ..

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