Thursday, June 5, 2008

The birds and the bees

Atticus Finch taught his children well, that it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.
"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mocking bird."
One thing I can't stand it's birds nesting in my corncrib.

I have always been impressed by mockingbirds. They've got so much to say all the time, and they say it over and over in so many ways, and with such enthusiasm, even though it doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. It's kind of like listening to sports talk radio.

We have a fairly regular mockingbird presence in our neighborhood. Some mornings it's that mockingbird talk that wakes me before the alarm. Not bad to lie there and listen to what the mockingbird has to say, knowing there's no chance he will go off on how Obama's middle name is Hussein, or that Bush lied about the WMD, or offer any opinion whatsoever on gay marriage. Then again, since I don't speak mockingbird, maybe that's exactly what he's talking about. Maybe that's why all the other birds get quiet when the mockingbird gets rolling - they're all thinking "Here he goes again..."

In any case I will take the mockingbird over the crows. They like some tall redwoods nearby, and they like to sit on the telephone pole right outside the bedroom window and play their one note symphony. Seems to be a pack of three of them, and one has a voice that's sort of a cross between crow and duck. Maybe got something stuck in his craw. Or he could be some kind of bird impersonator. Either way, he's extra annoying and loud. Atticus Finch made no defense of crows, you know, and if I had a gun I might prop it on my pillow and try to eliminate some evildoers, all in the interest of a few more minutes sleep. I'm sure the neighbors would thank me, as long as I managed to hit the crow and not the electrical transformer he sits next to.

Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence around this neck of the woods suggests the bees continue to decline. (Faithful readers will recall this post from last summer about the bee problem. I was bitching about the crows back then, too.) I'm not the type to get all Chicken Little about the crisis of the week, but this bee failure thing is a little eerie. Last year, about a third of all the bee colonies died off - and this year, a third of the remaining ones died off. These are huge losses. As it was described in this news story, wouldn't people be up in arms if a third of all cows just dropped over? I don't think most people have any idea it's happening, or what impact it would have, but I don't think they will like it when a jar of honey or a carton of strawberries costs as much as a tank of gas.

Maybe the mockingbird and the crows are trying to get me to wake up and do something about the bees.

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