Saturday, April 24, 2010

Birds are Amazing Creatures

Mothers everywhere understand that any car that contains a child will, over the course of time, accumulate a sediment of cookie crumbs, cracker crumbs and the "what the heck is that?" item on the floor.  Often, as I am putting my son in his car seat, I will try to grab as much of this sediment as I can scoop up and throw it outside the car.  I am not littering.  Rather than throw away those crumbles of food, I am feeding birds with them.  After I get in my car and am putting on my seatbelt, I'll usually see one or two grackles who have spotted the morsels and have come to eat them.  The other day I threw out a couple of large cookie parts, and I figured that a bird would take a while to eat those.  What I didn't expect was to see a grackle pick up the piece and take it to a spot where another car had left a puddle of water from their a/c unit.  As I watched, the bird dipped the cookie part into the shallow puddle to soften it!  It made me chuckle, because I don't think I know five people who would be smart enough to think to use that puddle in that way, let alone any other members of the animal kingdom. 

I like to watch birds. They are pretty successful survivors.  I have a bird feeder set up in the back yard and I can see it from the window in the kitchen.  I get the occasional grackle, but mainly doves, finches, etc.  I have passed many a pleasant Saturday morning watching birds, and the squirrels, as they stop by for a snack.  Occasionally a hawk will stop by, since I have a number of white-winged doves who have become nice and plump hanging out at my place, but that's the Circle.  My cats will sometimes try to catch the birds, but the one time Tiger actually was able to get a bird, he was so shocked that he immediately dropped it. 

One morning when I was at Walgreens checking out a grackle hit the window pretty hard.  I came out of the store and it was laying on the sidewalk.  I figured it was dead.  I got in my car and as I was getting ready to leave, a group of grackles gathered around the body.  I made the assumption that the other birds had gathered to eat their dead comrade--food is food, and everybody's got to eat.  I was wrong.  As I watched, a big black grackle approached and grabbed one of the legs of the fallen bird.  He pulled at it pretty hard.  Then he did it again.  Just as I thought, "What the heck?" the bird I thought was dead sat up(as much as a bird can sit up, but you get the idea).  The other birds seemed to gather around their fellow, and it almost seemed like they were trying to help him wake up.  After another minute or two, the bird that I thought was dead flew off, and his flock took flight with him.  Watching that little miracle made my day. 

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