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  Thursday November 27th, 2014    

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Bird talk (09/14/2003)
By Janet Lewis Burns
Who killed Cock Robin? The mystery began as our friends and neighbors Dawn and Kent Erdmann went on vacation in August - not unusual. We watch one another's houses at such times. The neighbor to our east commented to Pat, after a couple of days, that he had seen a bird in Erdmann's house. A possible pet? Wrong!

I know Dawn feeds the birds (which amounts to dry bread and pastry crumbs on the front yard devoured by crows.) In turn, they fly over and deposit their digested globs of sour dough and donuts on our deck. Plop! Plop! Pat, the great white hunter, went over and checked the whole house. Yes, he reported that something on wing had definitely buzzed in as they were loading up, but he failed in his investigation to retrieve it. Columbo was called.

No need - the following day, I entered to water Dawn's plants, on my guard in case a wild avian creature would dive frantically at my jugular. Yikes! No denying it. On the windowsills, carpet and counter, remnants of stale something or other from one dirty bird.

I saw a stiff clump in the dark hallway. I knew what I had to do. I ran across the street and got my gripper stick and unceremoniously plopped the culprit into a Winona Post wrapper (no disrespect intended).

Then I got giddy, cuckoo even, as I began writing them a note. Sinister! "Travelers, here's the poop on the bird doo doo deposits in your home. I arrived too late. DO NOT tamper with the evidence! Captain Bradford is hot on the caper. Birdies' DNA will be tested to determine if he is indeed the guilty party. Was this an inside job to collect insurance? The next question is, who killed Cock Robin?" (Actually it was a sparrow.)

As I greeted them upon their arrival home, Dawn was cackling, having a bird over the catastrophe. Kent, in his usual nonchalant manner, strolled into the kitchen, a spray bottle and rag in his hand, and a "cat who ate the canary" expression.

Continuously playing pranks, from one yard to the other, it all began when the plastic duck, with her little family, had appeared more than once in Viking garb on our turf. In turn, a Packer-clad quacker has shown up on Erdmann's lawn. Then there were the gaudy pink flamingos, greeting us on our return from winter vacation, only to sway from their birch branches the following summer.

"The bird is out of the bag!" Our son Mike and Christie presented us with fetching pictures of our newest "grandkids" this past holiday. Buckshot and Tequila make a darling twosome. I've always wished for a golden lab and a colorful, tropical caged bird to dote on. A ham bone anyone! Polly wants a cracker!

The neighborhood swallows have Pat intrigued. Evenings out on the deck, we've been viewing them flocking into the huge red maple across the street, possibly, we thought, gathering for their migration south. Earlier in the evening, their supper hour coincides with ours, as the bat-like swallows, in from the fields, swoop and catapult, plucking insects from open air.

"Henny Penny's" falling sky may have been in reference to the hundreds of birds congregating in that tree, all chattering noisily. They can be spotted landing and flitting, like we humans toss and turn to get comfortable. What's most interesting is that the tree falls completely silent around sunset. One final chirp here and there, like a bunch of kids, and they're zoozoo.

One evening I heard one chortling, "You couldn't find a more compatible neighborhood. The whole bunch is a little loony! Keeping a sparrow for a house pet, and dressing plastic ducks - they must be bird brains! That last batch of moldy bagels should take us all the way to Dubuque."

May Cock Sparrow rest in peace. Bon voyage feathered neighbors! 

 

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