I've never really been a bird-feeder kind of guy.
Not that I have anything against birds.
It's just that most of my interaction with birds involves driving, and I certainly have little interest in feeding these things.
The other reason I've never been big on bird-feeding is that I don't particularly enjoy watching others eat.
I mean, whether it be an animal, insect, reptile or human, the act of eating is really pretty gross.
And no one looks good doing it. Even supermodels, if they ate, couldn't make it attractive.
Plus, I have this in-law who eats like a boa constrictor. I'm serious -- he'll swallow a half-chicken whole, and you can watch the lump work its way down his neck and into his body.
I got this bird feeder for Christmas, and despite many reservations, I finally stuck it to the kitchen window, filled it with seed and then waited for the first bird to drop in for a bite.
That was well over a week ago, and I haven't had one customer.
At first, I thought it might have been me. So I checked my "Complete Idiot's Guide to Bird Watching" (for some reason, whenever anyone gives me a gift, it's always paired with the appropriate "Complete Idiot's Guide").
Eventually I discovered that birds establish winter feeding territories in the fall.
It was, of course, at this point that I realized what my problem was -- marketing. If I was going to attract the feathered crowd, I needed to get the word out that there is a trendy new dining establishment in the neighborhood.
Although I am still working on it, here are the main parts of a 10-point promotional plan that I believe will turn my kitchen window into one of those places where you won't be able to get a reservation even if you use my name.
1) Come up with a catchy name. Right now I'm thinking "The Bill and Claw."
2) Create some atmosphere; maybe add music, candles and a few potted plants.
3) Have a grand opening, and invite restaurant critics (they'll eat anything if it's free).
4) Offer a complete range of valet services.
5) Distribute fliers in the forest and parks, and put up a neon sign that flashes "Eats."
6) Create a buzz. Nothing is more effective than word of beak.
7) Play hardball; spread the rumor that your neighbor doesn't wash her hands before filling her feeder.
8) Open a fly-thru window.
9) Try such proven gimmicks as the Early Bird Special for senior birds, two-for-one coupons and happy hour.
10) If all else fails, go with a can't-miss crowd-pleaser -- karaoke.