Monday, June 23, 2008

Our Lady of Birds

We are bird feeders.

While I am the most enthusiastic feeder of the family, we all enjoy lobbing bread at the ducks and gulls that live by the pond that is on our way to the grocery store. For extreme bird feeding (this is New Zealand, after all) we go to the Auckland Domain duck pond, home to many kinds of ducks, geese, and pigeons. Here you can play tug-a-war with a goose over a stale french loaf (B's a champ at this) while the gulls yell at you for your favoritism. It was at this pond that I realized I am a pied piper of pigeons, a veritable Bird Woman straight out of Mary Poppins (without the singing).

While I tend to consider pigeons to be the rodents of the bird world (filthy, germ-ridden pests!), clearly they don't hold that against me.

Like my first experience handling snakes, the limbic/reptilian part of my brain didn't like birds landing on me and I felt like I was living in Hitchcock's The Birds, while the OCD part of my brain was busy thinking about the scaly, disgusting, salmonella-drenched feet touching my skin. Thank goodness the calm midwife part of my brain triumphed over the rest and I was able to almost enjoy the feeding frenzy.

I love the little sparrows sitting on the fence (are they sparrows? I'm a bird feeder, not a bird watcher.) Why couldn't the little sparrows gather in my lap? Then I would feel like Snow White and I would definitely sing. And, like Snow White, my singing would bring out all the rest of the local wildlife that have been hiding in the bushes, and they too would want to sit in my lap! Mammals on my lap would be glorious!

But it turns out the true Bird Woman in our family is P.

Birds flock to her like pigeons to a statue.

This one did "The Pigeon" dance just like Bert from Sesame Street.

Synchronized perching.

And for once my girlygirl daughter did not totally freak out and scream and do the wiggle-shaky dance of one-who-has-touched-a-leech when they swarmed her and landed on her head, but instead she was still and calm and happy.

(In all fairness, there is no evidence that pigeons spread disease to humans. There is a lot of evidence however, that humans tend to get overly excited about pigeons spreading diseases.)


Sandie said...

I'm pretty sure I would have freaked out and started running. So, I am very impressed you and P stuck around.

corinne said...

I really would have loved to hear you sing! I too am impressed that you let them land on you, I don't think I would have liked it very much! I also would like to comment that the pics on your blog are always amazing--I had no idea that you were such a photographer! Did you get the message that Erica had her boys?

Marlene said...

Chloe wants to know how you got the birds to come up to you & dance on your head. She loved the blog, Flat K & seeing you. She asks if you are coming to visit soon. She is going to be in first grade in another week when school starts. We saw a fantastic fireworks show at your Uncle John's on Sat. Love you, Grandma Marlene