Friday, May 29

OK, it’s a boy

I am not a birdwatcher in the sense of being able to identify the specific DNA of each observed candidate. To me, birds fall into very few categories: Large, Medium, and Small. Those categories can be further differentiated into Brown, Green, Gray and Yellow, with Black for Ravens. And maybe Red. It’s kind of like horses; they’re mostly brown with variations.

So, with my discrimination limitations understood, I came to the conclusion that our new resident is a guy, since he is suffused with yellow feathers on his front side. The distaff side of finches are gray-brown in that space.

This little guy has discovered his vocal expression ability—he won’t shut up! He cheeps every 2/3 of a second (every 0.67 second, metric) even if I hold him in very warm hands. His eyes close as if he were going to sleep (PLEASE!), but still he cheeps. I have discovered anecdotally that covering birds to exclude light puts them to sleep. Nope, doesn’t work for this guy. Cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep. Maybe he doesn’t know he’s a bird yet. Yeah, that’s it—he hasn’t discovered his essence.

Not to digress from the subject at hand, but I do remember once or twice how chickens react to a solar eclipse. Even with only a quarter of the sun being obscured by the crossing moon, chickens I have lived with headed for home to roost! It was really weird; the cooling effect of the partially-blocked sun was rather remarkable, but the dimming was what turned on the chickens’ reaction. Very sensitive creatures, they. Chickens are great. Too bad they have such a poor reputation for intelligence; when they’re free to run their own lives, they’re brilliant and admirable and creatures you can love.

Photo: Hilary Hurley Painter


Pat said...

You're feeding that poor little bird CAT food? Or will it make it smell less like a bird and therefore fool the cats?

Tom Hurley said...

Feeding a bird cat food in order to keep cats at bay doesn’t sound too smart to me. Either way they smell like something a cat would like to eat! I use cat food because it’s pretty close to the nutritive value of fresh insects. It’s worked for all the birds I’ve rescued before, even the vegetarians. Back in 1965 I gave up trying to catch enough grasshoppers for a mocking bird I was feeding, and that’s when I discovered its love of cat food.