Monday 13 October 2014

The Main Course

There is a scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Birds” where they have to walk past all of the birds sitting on fences, trees, wires and pretty much anywhere a bird can sit. All is quiet, a little too quiet if you know what I mean. Hitchcock had a way of terrifying you that relied on sound effects and built up tension. He had no need of chainsaws or crazy people with hockey masks, although there were a few crazy people in his movies. The one scene that is sheer genius and terror is the playground scene. It still gives me the creeps and I first saw it forty five or fifty years ago. Sheesh!!!

Yesterday was a weird day for birds around my house. No one was attacked or killed to my knowledge, but the birds were behaving a little different. Normally, we will have a few sparrows raising a family in one of the birdhouses in the front yard with the odd noisy Magpie pissing me off from time to time. Yesterday, we had our house sparrows, five or six Robins, four magpies and something with a red head and neck.

They weren’t hanging around in the trees, but were walking about on the lawn. Every now and then they would peck half-heartedly at the ground and then walk on. When they passed by each other they didn’t so much as nod “Was’up?” I had the impression that they were waiting for something and they weren’t really looking forward to the “something” at all. Perhaps they had plans to meet up at the school yard to terrify some kids later on in the day. I suppose that it is possible that I am famous in the bird world and these were paparazzi birds waiting to get a picture from some unguarded moment.
When I was much younger, I went out with friends hunting birds with BB guns. Well, we hoped to get some birds, but the sad reality is that the safest place for a bird in those days was on a branch right in front of me and a BB gun. Not only couldn’t I hit a bird, I’m pretty sure I would have trouble hitting the ground. Even if I did hit a bird, he would just shake it off and fly away from the kid yelling “I GOT IT! I GOT IT! I DID!”

They could hate me for my intentions, but I doubt that birds have fifty year old memories. I don’t, and my brain is twenty times larger than the average birds. Probably…

I have observed that birds of all kinds are walking more now than they ever have before. I guess they might be stressed about the security bullshit you have to go through to fly anywhere in this day and age. They might just be tired after a log summer of building nests, feeding the chicks and flying all around the neighbourhood. Maybe they are just resting the old wings in preparation for that long flight south. Maybe.

There is some scientific data that suggest birds are direct descendants of the dinosaurs. I can believe it; I don’t trust birds and I doubt that I would have trusted dinosaurs. Why would I? The moment it got tough being a dinosaur, they morphed into birds, no staying power or conviction. Do you think that the birds have decided that it’s time to revert back to being dinosaurs?

I hope not! We aren’t the hunters that we once were and quite frankly, the birds might be pissed about how they fill a large section of the four food groups. We just might become the main course in the not too distant future.  

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