MAKURA NO SOSHI: A WOMAN WHO LOVES INSECTS
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Wednesday, August 18, 2004
BIRD DEBACLES

Now that the birds have discovered the Free Lunch that is my bird feeder, I've been able to enjoy watching the birds who come to my front porch. So far, there's the obsessive-compulsive blue jay who shoves empty sunflower seed husks into one of my rose pots, an entire swarm of house finches, several mourning doves with their songs that sound like deep, hollow wooden flutes, a handful of sparrows, a white breasted nuthatch, a red-headed woodpecker, and a black-and-white something that may or may not be a bobolink.

The mourning doves are particularly bold and on the afternoons when I go out to my front porch to write, they sometimes come and hop about right next to me as I'm tap-tap-tapping away on the laptop.

I also saw a mud swallow's nest recently under the eaves of the local Pamida. There were four marshmallow-fat baby swallows cheeping and cheeping in the nest, and the mother swallow tried to dive bomb my head when I stood underneath the nest to look at them.

When I tell people about the recent bird-watching, though, for some reason they feel compelled to regale me with gruesome bird-gone-wrong stories.

One acquaintance, for example, described leaving a metal bird feeder out throughout the winter and when it became extremely cold, discovering, much to her horror, the remnants of frozen bird feet stuck to the feeder.

My Japanese Mother described a nest of blue jays outside her kitchen window: "Such cute little babies, all peach-ka peach-ka singing and then next thing you know that bastard neighbor cat came and got it. Only thing that stink cat left is little tiny feet in nest. How you like that? Blue jay suppose to be such good luck but not if get eat up by cat. I hate that cat!"

And then my landlord weighed in yesterday with his two cents, describing a newborn baby bird that had fallen out of a tree. Seeing a swallow's nest nearby, he put the newborn back in the nest, even though it didn't look like it was faring too well. The swallows dumped the (by then dead) baby bird back out, though, and abandoned the nest, and when he looked inside the nest several weeks later he found that they'd abandoned their eggs as well. "My wife told me that, basically, I'd taken a dead baby, probably from a different species altogether, and put it in their nest," my landlord said. "So I guess I left a dead baby in their house."

"Man," I said. "That's gotta be majorly bad feng shui."
Posted by Artichoke Heart | 9:14 PM |
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