Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bad Guy Birds

While Maggie and my niece Clara were lunching on Mac n Cheese the other day, they were looking out the enormous window onto our backyard where a flock of starlings were pecking around in the grass.

"Those birds are bad guys," Clara said.

"Those birds are bad guys?" Maggie asked wide-eyed.

"Yes. They eat other birds babies," Clara said.

"Oh dear!" screeched Maggie.

"Well, Starlings do take over other birds' nests, don't they Clara? that's not very nice," I said unsure if Starlings are mean enough to actually eat other birds babies (as annoying and pesky as they are).

"Yeah, they take over their nests and eat their babies," Clara affirmed.

Awesome. I've researched and I'm still not sure they eat baby birds but they eat sewage, so I guess I wouldn't be surprised. Some people find Starlings repulsive.  Even my zoology professor at BYU offered 50 points extra credit for every Starling we killed over the course of the term. None of us took him up on the offer, however.

Anyway, the most hilarious part about Clara's bird lesson is that now Maggie is convinced that 95% of birds are bad. All day long she is running to find me all panicky that bad-guy birds are in our yard. And the other day in the Target parking lot Maggie pointed to a Seagull over head and in a real annoyed voice said, "Oh gosh. Here come the bad guy birds again."

Luckily there is the famous {Utah story of the Seagull miracle} that I used to illustrate that a lot of birds are truly wonderful. As for me, just seeing a great blue heron or a pelican chilling by the lake fills me with calm and a sense of awe.

Tell Maggie, what's your favorite bird?


jwise said...

Just make sure she NEVER EVER watches Hitchcock's "The Birds"!!!!! Freaky.

I had no idea the starling was such a nasty bugger. Such a beautiful name. As for my favorite kind of bird... I don't know, but I agree with you on the pelican, and I also like flamingos. Or those colorful rainforest birds. Recently I was driving home on a windy day and I came to a clearing where I could see a RED-TAILED HAWK playing in the wind, floating on the air currents so that he stayed in just about the same place over and over. It was one of the most impressive sights I've ever seen.

Meridee said...

I love Great Blues and get excited whenever I come across one. I love the Gold Finches at our feeder when, as spring progresses, they become more and more yellow. We used to see Snowy Egrets quite often along the trail, but now only rarely. I love seeing birds with Lincoln because he not only identifies the birds but tell you something about them. Clara's vast knowledge of Starlings most likely came from Linc.

The Tuck Family said...

I love chickadee's, they are so teeny tiny and the way they sing just makes me happy....Chick-a-dee-dee-dee....

Ashlen says to tell Maggie that her favorite is the Blue Footed Booby. For obvious reasons, the name which makes her belly laugh for a good 5 minutes every time, their dancing, and their awesome electric blue feet. She first came upon them when we bought the book "What Do You Do With a Tail Like This" by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page. If you don't have it Mags would dig it!

K said...

My mom saw The Birds and never could enjoy a bird ever again. How sad. We see herons all the time, and Ibis. And Eagles down by the lake in winter. But I love the red wing blackbirds and the Western Tanagers, along with the banana finches we have in the yard. Oh, and I love - on=h, now what are they called? Oh, I can't remember - they run around in the pastures and they're so light and worried. The funnest thing is to drive up to the pasture and see a bird just calmly sitting on the back of a horse.

Katie Gee said...

Maggie might want to know that my favorite bird is the house finch 'cause they eat the spiders that want to come into my house!

Marilyn said...

Malachi would be so horrified! He LOVES Birdies (starting with His Birdie) and always says, "Mommy! Look! A cute wittle nice wittle birdie! I wuv 'im! I wish I could just hug 'im!" And so forth. And also, Sebby told me the other day that he saw a "bagpipe" outside (that's a magpie, I think).

Beth said...

I'm glad the bird nerdery that consumes my house on a daily basis is seeping into your house now. I need Clara to come to your house more often so you can document for me all the cute things she does. I think you're a better mother than I am in that regard.
My favorite bird is the great blue. Once, he flew right over my head as I was running over to the river trail. Just about 10 feet directly over my head (we were going exactly opposite directions). I love it how at our house if someone yells "There's a great blue!" everybody high-tails it to the nearest window to see if they can see it, too.

Meridee said...

Lind says: Nasty things-- starlings. They are an invasive species, not native to our country. You probably already know the story, but some American who was a Shakespeare fan thought that every bird mentioned in Shakespeare's works should be introduced to America. The starling, of course, was among them. The whole infestation began with 60 birds released in Central Park in New York and then another 40 the next year. Now we've got millions of them. They do have interesting color in spring and winter and they are voracious insect eaters, which is a good thing. But as already mentioned they are known for kicking other birds (including their eggs) out of their nests and taking over. Bad bad bird.

AwesomeAustads said...

Remember the summer with Coop de Hoop and we had to draw all those birds with their names. I don't think I remember any of them. Maybe you could draw up some pics for her?

Vhari said...

Cedar Waxwing


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