Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Birds Will Play

It's Sunday morning and we pull the cords of the curtains and open the screen doors and open the screen windows to let in air. (The screen doors are important around here in summer for keeping out mouse-hunting rattlesnakes.) Then she opens the unscreened windows of the front door.  I give her a look. "I like to let the birds in.  They fly around for a while and when they get tired I pick them up and take them outside."  Bird Lady of the Vineyard. Another symptom of Crazy Lady Disease.   So this is what goes on when I'm at work during the day.
How do you train your dog not to bark when the bird chirps "cheeeeek?"

We call the bird "cheek-ey," otherwise known as a Flicker.

We have trained this dog to do "bird check" along the rows of vines after the grapes have ripened and the birds search for holes in the nets.  He's able to spot the birds who have made it through. We catch and release. At least those still flapping.

I've never seen the "cheek-ey" in the nets.  But we hear him almost every day.  His distinctive cry, which sets the dog off barking.

The temperatures warmed and the winds were blowing and it might have been a mild Santa Ana and Mr. Cheek-ey dove from the tree and sailed right into the glass window by the front door.  The explosive noise startled the Queen but the glass didn't break. Was he aiming for the hole in the door and missed? Was the light on the window reflecting so he just saw open sky?  Did strong winds blow him off course?

The Queen rushed outside and Mr. Cheek-ey didn't move and Mrs. Cheek-ey looked on from her side of the Poplar trees and cried, "Cheek."

Bluey barked. The Queen's eyes watered. Her throat tightened.
Mr. Cheek-ey

She picked up his body and wrapped it in tissue and placed it in a wine box and asked me to bury him when I got home.  I said I would do it during the light of dawn and when I did Mrs. Cheeky looked on from her perch.

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