I noticed a bit about the extinction of the dodo bird, only because the article mentioned that this bird was last seen on Mauritius. Having just been in that country, the name caught my attention. I am not interested in dodo birds.
That said, this did spark a thought. I am sure that extinction is not nice for any species—I do not look forward to my own. But, I would not be said if pigeons became extinct. They serve no purpose, now that the military no longer needs carrier pigeons for communication, and are irritating: aurally, physically, and visually. And, I am certain that the world’s statues will happy to be rid of them. No one, dead or captured in stone, likes to be dumped on…
Occasionally, when sitting on my terrace, I notice a bird perched atop a birch tree. And, when I saw atop, I mean that it can’t perch any higher.
Anyone with knowledge of birch trees will know that its outermost branches are rather flimsy. Not that anyone gives this much, if any thought. But, a crow sitting on one of these tiny branches caused me to wonder how it could bear the weight of such a large bird. Or, is a bird so light? I know what a chicken that size feels like in my hand, and I can’t imagine a branch bearing the weight. A chickadee, maybe, but not a crow.
One day, upon seeing this sight, I had an idea about a children’s book. It would be about a bird that’s afraid of height and is jealous of chickens. If I could illustrate, I would write the story, because this will live from pictures and short text. Until then, I will sit and wonder about the wonders of nature. Fortunately, my thoughts are not interrupted by arguments that would ensue if a creationist happened by...
Before I get to the word, I want to point out that I am a nice person. Many might be surprised to learn this, but it’s true. I offer as evidence the photo below.
Although I receive no praise, thanks, or recognition, I spend my hard-earned money to help the less-fortunate. In winter, grocery stores sell such seed-filled balls (as well as bags of seeds) as seen in the photo to feed small birds. The small size prevents larger birds from pigging the food. I do not have to do this, but I want to. What more proof do you need of my niceness?
Irregardless, the photo leads to the German word. The little bird in the photo is a common bird in Germany: Die Meise. This is known as the titmouse in the United States, because the English version is considered to be vulgar. The name is seldom, if ever, heard in polite circles, but is commonly used without embarrassment by ornithologists. Also, Americans tend to be prudish,but English people do not have a problem calling a bird a tit. I have a friend that uses this word the way an American would use bird-brained, but that has nothing to do with the German word...or my nice character.
Speaking of birds...(which should be read after the next post, but writing chronology is different that reading order in a blog)...I got to wondering yesterday if birds die. They must, but signs of aging are not apparent. All birds, after a certain age, all look the same. And, if the die, where do they go to die. i do not recall seeing bird corpses strew around, but millions fill the air. Does a bird burial ground exists, as is reputed to exist for elephants. Some biologist must know, but I do not know a biologist.
We are plagued with pigeons--well, at least two--in our garden. They must be drawn to our high tress, which offer some protection against enemies. Having heard that pigeons have excellent homing talents, I assume that the same ones return each year to bug me. Since all look the same, I cannot tell. I also do not know if more than one generation shows up. I do my best to prevent nesting, in case any new ones will want to return to the place of their birth. I will have to put up with the current ones, until they die...if, after all, birds do die.
What can you do on a rainy Sunday in August (it's raining somewhere)? Once again, desperation could drive you to waste time on another installment of views from my beach chair.
At times I felt as though I was sitting beside a busy thoroughfare. Large birds (pelicans, I think) kept passing in either direction. Occasionally, one or the other wound dive-bomb into the water and then continue on their way to who-knows-where. Besides those prima donna moves, they must have had a destination, because they seemed intent on riding air currents or seeking the most favorable route upwind. And, these guys could fly formation!
A time or two, I felt obliged to leave my comfortable chair to get a better shot. They seemed to have a nice life and enjoy it. They appeared to be less anxious than scurrying creatures shown in an earlier vacation views, which nervously scrabbled along the sand in search of sustenance. Just like in the military, Air Force guys have a better life than troops on the ground.
There’s not much to do at the beach. One can sunbath (not long and with plenty of sunscreen), read (although not a book one does not want sanded and oiled), swim (becomes boring quickly…and wet), think (mostly garbage), watch people (usually unfulfilling, because most are unattractive and uninteresting), and contemplate the world in front of your eyes (clouds, birds, waves, crabs, etc.). Of course, reading is the most satisfying beach activity, but it is beneficial to rest one’s eyes by focusing on distant features.
Fortunately for you, I had at least one camera with me at all times while on the beach. I can share with you over the next few days a few of the sights that caught my roving eye. This will be more interesting for you than watching paint dry...
In case you have no drying paint that needs watching, you can waste time on the third installment. There were plenty of birds eking out a living on the beach. They did not bother me, and I did not bother them (although I did fail to get them to sign a release for photo rights).
Few people needed me to announce that; most learn this by noticing a calendar.
I receive confirmation each morning from birds. They start chirping at three, which most people miss. Hospital life runs differently.
They do not only announce spring; they announce each new day. I used to think that birds started at four, but realized that this must have been Summer Time (which does not start for a week). They must get up early to announce the arrival of the sun. Either one of them flies high to look over the horizon, or they get a call from a relative living to the east, or they set an alarm. I can't imagine any wearing a watch. Those clunky chronographs weigh more than a bird.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.