“The road from appearance to reality is often very hard and long, and many people make only very poor travelers. We must forgive them when they stagger against us as if against a brick wall.” —Franz Kafka

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Breakfast in Bird Land


Until this morning, I'd never seen a bird bump into a branch mid-flight. It never occurred to me that they might do such a thing. Cross off another naive assumption. The magpies came early this morning. I wish I'd had my video camera ready. Even through my office window is desperately in need of washing, their arrival is a thrilling sight, well not for everyone I'm sure, but I think it's pretty cool and I'd like to share the scene with those who also delight in the small wonders of ordinary life. However, doing so will first require that I recharge the battery and, if I want to do it right, washing the window so don't hold your breath.

I've been putting out small dog kibbles, much easier than peanuts and cheaper. I suppose I've gotten lazy. I don't imagine cheapo dog food is as delicious as hand-shelled, bite-size peanut bits but the daily preparation got tedious. Kibbles are the backup, like mac-n-cheese when you don't feel like cooking dinner. My kids got their fair share of those kind of dinners growing up. The most egregious slop I served was my very cheesy Spanish rice. I mean cheesy. There was a glob, matey. Ker-plunk. Dense enough to sink a pirate's ship. But it calmed them down. They slid off their chairs after dinner and just disappeared. Plus it was tasty. In my defense, another default dinner was tofu and broccoli stir fry but they preferred the Spanish rice. So I don't feel too bad feeding the magpies kibble. They gobble it up.

There was a fight in the Bird Park this morning. It was short-lived but rather thrilling, what with the screaming and milling crowd. One magpie had another on his back and was drilling into the poor fellow's neck with his fearsome black beak. For a second there I thought he'd kill him. Magpies are fierce with lots of attitude on top. They even land with a certain passionate swagger. It's more like a crash landing. They hit the ground running then hop furiously toward whatever object they're after. Wouldn't want it to be me. If you happened to be down, say in the desert, they would peck out your lovely eyes before you had time to blink. Magpies are classy though in their black tuxedos and white starched shirts. Preeeety. I am surprised more of them don't wear top hats. A shiny black stovepipe top hat really sets off a formal ensemble.

The crows came late as usual. I don't know what's up with them. The cheese and peanuts bits are gone before they arrive. A hunk of cheese went bad so the birds get it and there are some loose peanuts at the bottom of the peanut box so I've been including a few of them every morning as well. They are highly prized but the crows miss out on the good stuff. Go figure. I believe, in general, crows are considered smarter than magpies. They are more cautious. I suppose that's because they are smarter. Fools rush in where crows fear to tread. At the moment, a few magpies are finishing up the leftover oatmeal. It's always the last to go.



6 comments:

Don said...

Your magpies always make me think of mine, and I always ask if yours are the yellow-billed variety, and then I forget what your answer is. But here you say "black beak", so I guess not. My yellow-billed rabble have not yet arrived. They are indigenous only to "California's Central Valley and adjacent foothills," so I don't know where they might have gone. I'm not worried about them.

asha said...

Don, remembering that mention of my magpies always reminds you of yours, I added the word "black", not that I assume you would forget the color of my magpie's beaks, but I often forget details like that myself. For instance, I am not sure that, if pressed, I would have been able to immediately name the color of your magpies beaks; besides "black beak" sounds so much more ominous; "fearsome beak" ... "fearsome black beak".

It's been a weird bird year here, not at all the same as other years. We have lots more birds of prey and very few of the winter regulars. Oh, and I like the addition of color to your intertwined triangles. Makes for a dizzy optical effect.

Don said...

New logo goes with my new bloggery, which is an experimental project to be of short duration. You have no idea how long it took me to draw that thing.

Don said...

I forgot, I wanted to try commenting with a different identity to see what haps. I don't like getting linked to my "profile" whatever that is. Testing ...

Anonymous said...

Phoo, no logo. Oh well.

asha said...

Trust me. Sadly, I do have a very good idea how long your zippy new logo took you. But hell.... it was worth it. I get seasick looking at it.