So I’ve been looking out my window. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a pervert; lots of people look out of windows. Don’t you judge me! It’s interesting what we focus on. Maybe it’s a case of small things amusing small minds. In this instance I’m looking at a small bird: An Eurasian blackbird, to be precise. And this particular specimen is stone-cold fucking dead. Bird has been dead for 2 weeks now. In that time, Bird has undergone a significant transformation, but let us back up a step. <rewind>
The first week was dead boring. A biologist would tell you that there was a lot going on under the hood – so to speak, but from my perspective the bird simply flopped around a bit as the wind dictated. So anyway, Bird looked just as birds do (sans animation) for about a week.
In the 2nd week, the maggots became visible. Masticating meat-house maggots, merrily munching away. I love how nature cleans up after itself. I know maggots aren’t everyone’s idea of a good time, and I wouldn’t invite them in for tea and scones but the cycle of life is an endless wonder. Yesterday the carcass collapsed in the rain. It looks a bit disgusting but this is where the real fun starts.
There exists a sparrow (one of millions) that is visiting dead-bird, and eating the maggots that are eating aforementioned dead-bird. Bird eats maggot eats bird. Different species of bird, but it’s almost cannibalism-by-proxy. The sparrow works tirelessly, returning every few minutes to gobble more maggots, no doubt whisking the little wrigglers back to the nest to feed the next generation of hungry beaks.
Tweet twiddle diddle pop
Weet twirdle middle bop
Sweet middle fiddle flop
Complete riddle kibble hop
Thou shalt not converse loudly whilst Manu is in the room.
He squawks up a storm, and he can go louder than you can. That’s right, he can go louder than you can. Cockatiel! Cockatiel!
When you spill coffee all down the front of your treasured Gucci blouse and yell “Phooey!”, my bird will laugh at you.
Despite my distaste of keeping animals in cages, I decided to buy a budgie. Despite my decision to buy a budgie, I bought a 3-month old hand-raised cockatiel. it was love at first cuddle. How can you not fall in love with a cockatiel sitting on your shoulder, pulling your hair? His name shall be Manu¹. A hand-raised bird is much more sociable (and expensive) than an aviary bird: The bird is already tame and will bond with its new human-companion much faster.
In the roughly 24 hours that Manu has been here, he has pooped on one of my chairs and one of my friends. I suspect that he is a little pissed-off over his abrupt change in living quarters and family, so I’m resisting the urge to handle him too much whilst he settles in. I want him to feel comfortable and at-home before he becomes acquainted with – and attempts to poop on – the cat. He has broken tapu² already by sitting in both his seed-bowl and water-bowl, but It’s good to see him eating and drinking while he gets familiar with his new lodgings.
That’s Manu in the featured photo. Te Manu tino hiainu. Have a drink. Champion!
1. Manu is the Mäori word for bird, but it also used as a name.
2. Tapu is a Mäori word that roughly translates to sacred or forbidden, depending on context.
I learned a hard one at 10 years of age when I accidentally caused the violent death of a chicken. Staring at the mutilated corpse at my feet, I was filled with guilt and remorse. It had been an accident, but I knew that it was my fault.
All those years ago, I was living on a farm. No-one but townies had to buy eggs in those days. If you lived on a farm, you had chickens. Imagine a bright Spring morning. The sun was sparkling in the dew-drops caught in the spider webs strung out in the long grass. My cousin Ashleigh and I were strolling through the paddock swinging a pail of food scraps. I had stayed at their house over night and now we were off to feed the chickens before breakfast. As we walked, the chickens were running ahead of us clucking in anticipation and occasionally scattering when we got too close. To this day, I still don’t know what inspired me to do it, but I ran a few steps, chasing the chickens. “Don’t chase the chickens” admonished Ashleigh. Of course not. I knew better. Still, What was the harm?. It was fun and I did it again, just to see them scatter. “Don’t chase the chickens!” again from Ashleigh. I’d had enough chasing chickens already and agreed, but disaster was just getting started. A few seconds of folly had been enough to fire up Rocky, the rottweiler trotting along behind us. Chickens were suddenly a game bird! Instinct kicked in and, with an exited bark, Rocky charged at the nearest chicken. It was awful to watch.