Monday, June 14, 2010

Birds Got Badges!

I would like to dedicate this entry to my sister-in-law, Becky, who passed away very suddenly last week on June 8, 2010. We will miss you, Becky. Thanks for making our lives so much brighter.

I think birds have badges that they strive for, much like those the Boy Scouts strive for. Okay, wait a minute; I’m not completely off the deep end yet. I really do think they have badges, and here’s why.

Just about every time I’m out driving, a bird will suddenly fly across the front of my car. It comes out of nowhere, just a tiny body flashing in front of my speeding car, and then it’s gone. And, of course, with my out-of-control imagination, it’s because that bird was trying to earn its Car-Diving Badge.

I always sincerely shout, “Way to get that badge!” as I picture the bird sitting on a tree branch, scared to death after having just dived in front of my car, and receiving the applause and congratulations of its fellow birds. Then a small ceremony in which it receives the Car-Diving Badge (a rough rendition of a human car with oak leaves) and a kiss from the bird queen.

Okay, maybe the bird is just an idiot and doesn’t actually see my car coming, but I like to think about badges. In fact, here are some more bird badges (and how to earn them) that I just know are real:

The “Bomber Trio”:
Window-Bomber Badge: place a “bird-dropping” on a human house window just below the eave. The only way I figure they can do this is dive straight at the window, then pull up sharply at the last minute and drop their “bomb” at the same time. I know of at least one bird in our neighborhood that is sporting this badge since last Saturday.

Car-Bomber Badge: we all know how this one is earned. The only tricky part here is finding a freshly washed car.

Laundry-Bomber Badge: circle over (or land on) full human clotheslines after a big meal of blackberries. And your target has to be white.

Grill Badge: earned by building a nest in a human’s bar-b-q grill. The nest must be constructed overnight, started as soon as the grill cools from the humans’ last grilling session. (There’s a tiny finch in our backyard that has earned this badge many times.)

No-Flinching Badge: sit on the road and stare at oncoming cars without flinching until the last second, then fly straight up and freak-out the human. This is actually the badge that comes after the Car-Diving Badge. This badge is mostly presented posthumously. (I’m sure you can figure out why.)

Impossible-Home Badge: build a nest in the most impossible, out-of-the-way place you can find. The smallest, most hard to reach place is best. Extra oak leaves if it bugs the humans but they can do anything about it.

Okay, I’d better cut this list short. Watch the birds in your location, especially when you’re driving, and see if I’m not correct in thinking, BIRDS GOT BADGES!