By Trina Machacek
There is a book I have from a guy in Maine who is a photographer, Robert Mitchell. His pictures are taken from in and around a place I have traveled too many times. He has what I would call a good eye and I love to just sit and look at the things he as created on the pages of his books.
There’s one in particular that is of an impression a dove made by landing in fresh snow. It is of the wings of the bird outstretched and even though the bird landed and apparently took off again the snow around the wing span, down to the beak, is a wonderful bright sight.
But! Yes a feather covered “but.” Excuse the pun, the photograph is un-feathered by anything. It is just the best picture that has none of the shock and awe of flying into snow and then getting all scattered trying to get up to fly again. It’s a perfect impression. I tell you that to make it clear that when a bird hits my window, trying to fly straight through my house it is nothing like what Mr. Mitchel captured. Not anything as romantic or awe inspiring. Nope, not at all.
It seems that this year I have gotten a group of birds living in my yard for summer who, well they are not the brightest birds on the branch. Oh don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy all the activity in my yard.
The fact that the group of feathered friends this year seem to need glasses, and that they’re certainly what may be considered “under dogs” just endears them to me all the more.
I have no shame in stating my life long existence has been somewhat under doggish. That makes me enjoy, watch and root for the birds that have, over and over and over again slammed into the glass in my living room or dining room windows. They kathunk as they hit my windows with their little birdie hard hat wearing heads. Only once did one knock himself out but not completely. Just stunned he got up shook his little bird head and flew off. To kathunk another day I suppose.
It’s interesting to ask people what animal they see themselves as. A lot of eagles and bears and sharks. Not too many will pick a black bird that keeps slamming into a window trying to get to—where? I suspect they are trying to take a short cut through my living room to get to the cat feeder on the back deck that is outside and being regularly visited by the feathered thieves living their summer in my yard. So much so that they even have the cats buffaloed to eat as fast as they can in the morning because the birds take over around 9:47 a.m.
I am not one to wonder what animal I would be like. I am one who wonders—what animal would like to be me? It’s the nonconformist in me. I mean just think of a group of say ameba floating in a petri dish discussing what they will become as they change shape and grow into anything in the universe. No pressure, but if we could decide our outcome would anyone be able to make that BIG decision for ourselves? Not me. I am too, well like the birds in my yard, I am too flighty to decide. I would probably just keep flying into windows thinking I was on my way just continually banging my head against that window.
In the spring I wash my windows. I’m ready to see the world after a long winter. Washing windows is like opening up and inviting life back in. It’s that washing that apparently invites birds to think the route from the west to the east, straight through my house, is their runway. So occasionally I get: bird-window-splat. If it’s been particularly dry and dusty I have been rewarded with an impression left in dust of a bird hitting the window.
My impressions however are not like the perfect one in Mr. Mitchell’s book. No the birds here hit, scratch with their little birdie legs, wildly flapping wings leaving a trail of dust and tattered bird feathers as they screech and slide down the window. Can’t you just see it? Bird-Window-Splat. As the bird slides, head spinning he thinks, “Well what the…?”
Recently some of the birds have learned exactly where my windows are and now? Apparently my feathered friends find happy in telling me of their feelings by taking aim and pooping as they fly by.
Fire one! No wait. I mean Fire TWO!
Trina lives in Eureka. Her new book, “They Call Me Weener” is available on Amazon.com or e-mail her at email@example.com to find out how to get a signed copy.