Wednesday, September 4, 2013
COWBIRDS ROCK …and roll…
Cowbirds…I have never really thought much about them except for the fact that when they are perched on a big bull’s back it makes it really hard for the bull to look like a bad a$$, they poop on trucks parked under trees and they have never really been that exciting….that is until now…
I have recently spent a whole day with them. While I mow pastures they swarm the mower and tractor looking for food. I have come to see that there are some familiarities between myself and these birds….while I do not sit on bulls backs nor do I poop on parked trucks…I have found some things that my new friends and I have in common.
These birds seem to fly quite gracefully in the air. Traveling in flocks and looking quite regal at times. But that is where it ends. I have seen many near miss, mid air, head on, collisions right before the landing. They come in kamikaze style and land right in front of my tractor or the massive rolling tires and then just disappear. I am sure the next thing will be squish/squash with nothing but a greasy spot and some feathers but they always move just in time….this is why they would make such a great super hero side-kick. Their landing is quite funny. It is really awkward and kind of all over the place. As they touch down their wings do a really odd thing and they look like they might fall over. They are clumsy and seem to trip over even the smallest cut stalk of whatever it is that I am mowing at the moment. As you can see…we do have much in common…I have never been accused of being graceful…neither in the air nor on the ground. Then there is that weird thing they do with their throats, it looks like it is vibrating. So I will admit to being awkward and clumsy but luckily do not have the throat thing happening.
They are white in color with a few rust colored feathers on their head, chest, and back. These rust colored feathers are really thin and if the wind catches them just right it looks more like hair. Some of the birds are solid white and I am thinking they are young birds. They have not yet grown into or earned their “rust” yet. The solid ones are a bit more clumsy and awkward too…thus they seem younger.
I don’t think these birds ever watched Sesame Street or Barney as “calf-chicks” because they do not share or have any concept of it. They are quick to pounce on all grasshoppers, anything with wings to small to be able to get away from them, and the occasional mouse. I am soooo glad they did not pounce on the baby rabbits because I would have had to jump out of the tractor and bulldogged the bird. Not a pretty sight I am sure.
They do like music and are partial to Latino music. As soon as Ricky Martin started singing SHAKE YOUR BON BON, there was definitely some bobbing of the head and shaking of the tail feathers action going on. Then just as quick as it started…it stopped… as soon as Elvis sang I CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU . It was so serene, so peaceful…they even refrained from eating. It was as if we all had “a moment”. We, meaning the birds, the “lunch”, and the crazy farmer lady. I was happy to see that they at least had some respect for the King. It was almost magical…..but short lived because then BOOM!BOOM!POW! it was right back to head bobbing and booty shaking. I guess there is just a little “heathen” in us all.
They are birds after my own heart because we are both white and have a deep heart felt love of soul music. I could tell by the fact that they were singing to the grasshoppers the whole time, I KNOW YOU WANNA LEAVE ME, BUT I REFUSE TO LET YOU GO!! So they are not big on sharing but they sure AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG. And after hearing my two favorite Marvin Gaye songs, I did see a few bird couples coming out of the bushes with big smiles on their faces and smoking cigarettes. I am not sure what to think of that…except there are some humans as well as birds that cannot handle the singing seduction of Mr. Marvin Gaye. LET’S GET IT ON and SEXUAL HEALING should come with warning labels, even in the bird world.
This little guy cracked me up. He just came up out of nowhere…all alone… the Lone Cowbird. He was such a rebel with a “I don’t need no flock, all the bugs are mine, I ain’t about to share, I own this field” attitude. He followed along until I was done for the day…I will miss him most.
So I will never look at cowbirds quite the same anymore…I kind of felt like I was in a bubble looking out into their world. My pictures are terrible because most were taken from inside the cab through the glass. These birds are not only skittish when I approached them to take pictures outside…they are really quick at everything they do. From their funky landings, to their kamikaze dive-bombing in front of the tractor, to their catching and gulping down of insects. And I was trying to drive at the same time I was taking pictures….I "shoot" and drive but I don’t text and drive :) These birds try to be so serious, cool, and “with it” but they just cannot help but to be goofy, kooky, and awkward. They never stand still for more than two seconds and I do believe they are super hyper. They could use a dose or two of Ritalin. I can really relate to that and laugh at all our similarities. I have a new adoration for my cowbird brethren. If only I could eat what bugs me too………
at 8:07 PM