Friday, May 13, 2011

Ruffling Feathers

The other night I was reading about the mating habits of barn owls... oh come on! I am not trying to be "sexy"! I am just trying to tell you how it is in the real world. The information was in a book called ON RARE BIRDS by Anita Albus. You know how I love my bird books! What? You don't know how I love my bird books? What's wrong with you? Where have you been all these years? The first part of the book is about extinct birds, and there is nothing like reading about extinct birds for taking the fun out of life. So I generally skip that part of the book and go for the threatened and endangered birds, like our friend the barn owl. When I got to the frisky part about "his staccato cackle and her buzzy cheeps" and a "snoring crescendo" (!) I started to think about those terrible animal noises we heard the other night and wonder if maybe whatever was going on with whatever kind of creature was actually romantic and not terrifying and depressing, yeah, but no, I don't know, I think it was pretty terrifying, yes, I'm sure it was terrifying, I was terrified. "The birds thoroughly ruffle each other's feathers afterward" writes Anita Albus. I'm just telling you like it is! Then, on an unrelated subject (though in the same volume), I read about how some kingfisher nestlings took turns pooping neatly through a hole in a flowerpot, their makeshift nest. This is life, people! What can I tell you? An ornithologist is quoted: "You would never on your life look into that hole unless you wanted to risk getting a free gift in the face." That probably sounds better in German, from which it is translated. Pictured, a kingfisher, not looking amused at what he's reading here.