Monday, 22 June 2020

How You Use It

How do birds know where to find food?

I sort of understand that a woodpecker knows that if he or she pecks the bark of a tree long enough and deep enough then if it is the right kind of tree there should be some tasty bug to be found. It would be odd if the woodpecker didn’t know where to find those tasty bugs after hundreds of thousands of years. The same goes for Robins that strut across my lawn, cocking their little heads every now and then and when the time is right they use their beak and somehow pull up a worm. The worm seems to be struggling. But how much struggle can you put up without and arms, legs, eyes or ears? How did the robin know thew worm was there? It isn’t as if the worm was making a lot of noise slowly working through the topsoil. He didn’t have any shovels, earth movers or dynamite to help get by that pebble in his way that the bird might have heard. It’s a mystery to me.

Picking up ants or grain from the dirt would be a pretty simple lesson for Mother Nature to teach our feathered friends. I mean, the food is just sitting (walking) there. I imagine that starvation is a good motivator in finding food.

I can remember standing on the beach in Fort Lauderdale Fla when I was a teenager and the seagulls that would hover at the waters edge waiting for me to toss a piece of bread in the air. More times than not the bird would catch it and a scuffle would ensue as the other birds tried to take that hunk of bread from the lucky bird that caught it. I had never seen anything like it. I eventually ran out of bread. The birds didn’t know that I had run out of bread and if anything they became more frenzied, hovering, dipping, climbing and hovering once again following me down the beach. The birds wanted more food! I am of an age that Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds” was terrifying in 1963 and continues to worry me well into my sixties.

Standing on that beach I could picture there birds pecking out my eyes and ripping any soft part of my body. I liked the soft parts of my body and wished to keep them as parts of my body. I reached down and grabbed a handful of wood chips, cigarette butts and small shells off of the beach and tossed them to the birds as I slowly backed away towards safety. They soon realized that I didn’t have any real food and most of the birds slowly flew away to find some other sucker with a few slices of bread. One particularly vindictive bird shit on me.

So anyways, today I was watching a crow and he/she landed close to a garbage bin and flew up to stand on a plastic bag in the bin. He pecked at the bag until making a hole and within moments had pulled out something that looked like a small slice of bread. How did he know there was food in the bag? Is that how evolution works? We have only been using plastic garbage bags since 1950. A longish time for humans, but a drop in the ocean for evolution. I wouldn’t have known and my brain has to be twenty times the size of the birds.   

I guess it is true what they say, “it isn’t how big it is, it is how you use it.” 

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Who Says You Can’t Buy Love

I never had a pet when I was a child. Well, not a real pet, one that you could cuddle with, play with and one that would love you unconditionally. I feel that I was short changed in some way just because my dad didn’t want a pet. I don’t think he had anything against animals in general but I suspect he knew that in spite of what his two boys said it would be he that walked the dog, cleaned the kitty litter box and paid the bills for food and health of those animals.
 My canary is very sick: Why do birds die more often during Dog ...
When I was eight or so I had my tonsils out and when asked what I wanted I told my mom and dad I wanted a dog. I got home from the hospital and instead of a dog there was a very sickly looking canary that instead of singing would give out a pathetic “peep…peep” every now and then. He came from a neighbour that had kept it in the basement without love or the basic minimal care any animal needs. I quickly tired of the canary, it couldn’t fetch, roll over or sit up. Every now and then it would fall off of it’s perch, but that was from exhaustion not a clever trick. Eventually my grandmother took the bird and nursed it back to health just in time for it to die.
 How to Take Care of Baby Fish - Pets
We had two guppies that quickly became two thousand which dad released into the wild sewage creek behind our house. The most entertaining thing the guppies ever did was flop all over dad when he slipped going down the bank, some of them ending up in his underwear. Still the stuff of family legend.
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My brother brought home a stray, snow white cat once. He said it followed him home but I would bet it came home in a bag of some sort. We called it Snoball. It was a wonderful pet during the daytime, but at night it would run up and down the hall howling and in the morning would hide under mom and dad’s bed so that it could rake it’s claws across dad’s ankles the instant his feet touched the floor. Good times…good times!

I kept grasshoppers in a jar until they died and did the same for frogs, butterflies and fireflies. I guess we weren’t a pet friendly home.

When I had kids of my own I vowed to get a dog so they would have built in playmates and I would have something that looked forward to seeing me when I came home no matter what kind of an asshole I had been in the morning. So for we have had Benji, Bailey and are currently blessed with Buster. If  it weren’t for Buster I wouldn’t get any exercise at all and I wouldn’t have anyone to listen to me. Louise tolerates me, but all I have to do is give Buster a treat and I own his soul. I think the kids liked the idea of having a dog growing up because they have all had dogs as adults.

This past weekend I went with Arwen, Hurricane and Tornado to pick up a rescue dog at an Animal Shelter in a nearby town. I was there to look after the boys while Arwen went in to do the paperwork involved in pet adoption. She came out with a Shepherd cross and the hopes that it won’t get too big over time. The name the shelter gave her was Marley, but as soon as they got home she became the dog named Sue. I have seen a few pictures of everyone in the family in various stages of cuddling with Sue. I think Sue found a loving home and a loving home found Sue.
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Who says you can’t buy love?