Friday, September 2, 2011

Birding around

It's First Friday Column Club time again. A reminder of what this is all about here. Over to The Husband...

I have had the pleasure of living with and being married to The Author of this blog for quite a while now. During this time she has revealed herself to be funny, very smart, stylish, creative, a loving mother and partner, fiercely independent and touchingly tender.

She is also completely nuts about animals. And I don’t mean nuts in a cute adorable way, I mean nuts in a way that could see one admitted to an institution for the bewildered. Too harsh? Perhaps. Read on.

Let’s start with The Cat. They have no greater mutual pleasure than snuggling down in bed together for half an hour before getting up, both of them purring loudly. She believes she knows what The Cat’s thinking, and helps her out by verbalising her wishes.

When The Cat is eyeing me angrily for some mystery slight, as she does increasingly these days, The Author will helpfully say “I hate you,” on her behalf.

But that’s nothing compared to birds.

The Author has always been completely bananas about birds, especially cockatoos. In most of our family photos we sport a cockatoo on our heads. The Author has always carried a bag of birdseed in her car, in case she should spy a flight of cockatoos which she can lure down from the trees so they may sit upon her head.

The other day The Child (that would be The Cat’s sister) and I were discussing The Author’s love of all things avian. “Yesterday she made me listen while she listed every species of bird she spied from the deck in the afternoon. There were 10,” I said. “Mum’s quite mental, isn’t she,” said The Child observed happily.

On the table on our deck are The Author’s bird tools. There’s her beautiful copy of What Bird Is That, a pair of ancient and brilliant binoculars once owned by her father, a spud gun, a spud and a nerf gun.

You see, we’ve had issues with currawongs raiding the nests of “our” doves.
They’ve tried to raise two families this season and the currawongs have eaten the babies both times. Mother Dove’s nest is right outside The Author’s home office window, which is not good.

When Mother Dove settled down on the nest again, cooing, after losing her first offspring, The Author said, firmly, that this time she wasn’t getting involved.

Not getting involved meant spending three hours photographing the nest-building procedure and showing me the series of “cute” photos.
She also chucks handfuls of birdseed around the backyard every morning as Father Dove must be tired and hungry after all that flying around with nest twigs.

She made me purchase the spud gun to scare away the currawongs, which didn’t work at all. The big black birds just tried to catch the little pellet of tasty spud coming their way. The nerf gun works but requires frequent trips out into the lane to retrieve the foam bullets. The garden hose is often brought into operation, but to no avail. Mother and Father Dove lost family two yesterday.

The Author’s also become quite birdlike in her mannerisms, cooing about the place, nesting and arranging twigs. When The Child and I see her out in the garden, scratching around, The Child will comment mum’s “birding around”.

Crazy as a crested bulbul she may be. But I love coming home to the nest every night, twigs in my beak.


  1. Great post! Though I do have visions of granny from Beverly Hillbillies sitting in the rocking chair on "the porch" with a nerf gun :) I do hope those poor birds choose a different nest next time. And lovely to see The Author in a photo.

  2. mental?
    if she is, it's in the nicest possible way.
    Vera, you would be in heaven where we on the banks of the Swan it's Cockatoo City...great big swarms of them laughing and shrieking so loudly you can't hear yourself talk...
    I myself am slightly scared of birds, you will NEVER see a pic of me with a bird on my head! But I'm still fond of the cocky's...funny,little old men.
    I don't get the cat thing, but I do share the bed with our doggy (when my husband is away).

    p.s. I've loved reading this post.

  3. Thanks for this hilarious and sweet post. I love birds too, possibly not quite as much as your beloved, but I get where she is coming from. Just have to say, you guys are adorable x