I’ve been so bored.
Thank Goodness, we are freed from the icy embrace. Now come the floods, the slush, the mud, the endless rain and wind.
Okay, enough with the moaning about the weather already, anybody would think I was born to it, I’m that good at it.
On the whole, I’m quite a busy type, finding lots to do, indoors as well as outdoors; I’m boringly practical and sensible, boring and unexciting qualities which keep me well balanced and nicely occupied in my advancing years. (I promise this was the last ‘Boring’ in this post and no jokes about senility, if you please, if I forget.)
It’s winter, the world turned a beautiful shade of white and virginal and became as inaccessible as a properly determined virgin. Shrubs and small trees, paths and hedgerows, lanes and fields, all formed a gently undulating landscape with no end and no beginning. A panorama for stroking, with sinuous flanks and secretive hollows, not to be despoiled. (hey, I’m still with the virginal, what fun! – The things one can get away with in a blog!)
So Benno and I found ourselves for long periods of time with noses pressed against the glass, staring at nature’s bounty. And birds. Garden birds. Benno got bored after a while and went to sleep; dreaming of all the rabbits he’s chased in his lifetime and discussing the ones that got away (all the live ones, labrador retrievers are fast, but not that fast), twitching and shaking and snuffling and barking under his breath, a sort of strangulated bark. If you have a dog you know what I mean.
I digress, back to the birds, most garden birds in general and blackbirds in particular. Especially one very belligerent adult male who declared the feeding territory to be entirely under his jurisdiction and therefore declared war on all other aspirants, including a dozen or so other blackbirds, many of them his own family. I’ve known politicians, world leaders, behave less arrogantly!
This male, let’s call him Napoleon, hardly had time to feed he was so busy head-swivelling, repelling all comers, large and small, chattering loudly and rushing them, wing and tail feathers flapping like coat tails, half-flying at them. One magical thrush was determined not to give in, she retreated, came back from another direction, retreated again, perched in the lowest branch of the shrub, hopped down, hopped up, etc. You get the picture. Napoleon wore himself out. I swear I saw him stuffing three berries into his beak at the same time, that’s how pressed he was for time.
(Notice how I’ve made the bully male and the wily bird female?)
Anyway, how many hours can one person watch birds scrabbling over bird food?
After two days of this I decided to do something about Napoleon; true, the other birds always got a chance to feed in the end, he backed off eventually, but I wanted to see what would happen if the feeding territory was enlarged.
I put out three additional, large, plastic plant pot saucers, filling them with berries, oats, nuts and seeds, apples and kitchen scraps, drenching the whole mess in cooking oil.
Next morning Napoleon came back to the original area, all fluffed up against the cold, ready to strut his stuff. He was soon joined by the usual throng and the dance of claim and counter claim began. It was the little birds which first noticed the new food filled saucers; a busy scrum developed around them.
When Napoleon realized that he was no longer ruling over the entire kingdom something very funny happened. The saucers sat about a meter and half apart, all lined up in a row on the edge of the terrace. Napoleon literally ran from one saucer to the next along the row, including the original feeding place, and back again. Over and over, wings akimbo, head down, working himself into a frenzy but to very little avail. As soon as his back was turned, the other birds, who had briefly fluttered up, landed again, instantly pecking away.
In the end I felt quite sorry for Napoleon - well, a bit anyway - He’ll be in bird therapy for the rest of his life.
And the moral of the tale?
Boredom is much underrated,
don't enlarge your territory unless you have the might to defend it,
don't bite off more than you can chew,
keep all your eggs in one basket if your fledglings come home to roost.