Some of My Most Memorable Moments With Birds and Other Animals
My life has been filled with a lot of interesting times with wild birds, many humorous, others more of a grave and serious nature. Some of this things you have already read about dear readers, but there are many things that you don't yet know about. Some of these things have never been put down on paper until now. So, grab a cup of coffee and settle into your favorite chair for some heart-warming and interesting things that I guarantee you will likely never hear about again, from anyone...
My mother said that at the age of 3(and I vaguely recall this), I was in my kiddie pool. When I got out, I faced the rear of the trailer, and went running toward the woods, calling, "Doggie, doggie!" She raced after me and scooped me up, for it was not a doggie. It was a bear cub.
I was approximately 12 when a raccoon showed up that I began feeding. I would give him carrots and other veggies from the garden, and he would show me how he would wash everything in his bowl of water. A few days later, my father found out and chased the raccoon away. At that point, I was clueless about rabies and being bitten, so I had to give my father credit on that maneuver.
The woods were my haunts and I pet deer and got close to bobcat near Whitten-Parritt Stream. During school vacations and on weekends I was always out in the woods communing with nature in one form or another.
As an adult, the top of the list would have to be something that I did with the 161 geese that were under my care during the Athos I oil spill. When I was trained do handle the husbandry on these birds, I was told that the door that I entered would be avoided by these birds like The Plague. That was the door that "The Humans" used, and the birds would want nothing to do with it. Without even trying, I managed to get so close to these birds that it amazed me. I showed them not to fear the tools of humanity like the wet-dry vac and the sump pump. I explained to them what I was doing to clean their pools and give them fresh water. I showed them where the water was drained out and they would watch it leave. They learned that fresh, new water would replace the old and dirty. They would march single file to be spritzed with water to encourage preening, whereas others would chase them around the cage trying to get them wet. They would nuzzle in my neck when I brought them to be weighed and nibble my hair to see what it was and what it felt like. They would greet me at the door and follow me around the flight cage when it was time for feeding shortly after 8 a.m. Then I walked in there with a coffee cup with hot coffee, as it was so cold working out in the flight cage. All the heads went up, and I was surrounded, as they just had to see this new thing that I had in my hand. Picture this: here I am sitting on a ramp to a pool explaining to "my" geese what a coffee cup was, and how I had to use that because I couldn't drink like they could. If anyone else was there with me, they likely would have thought that I was nuts. But I wouldn't have cared, if you want to know the truth.
Birds would recognize the sound of my voice and call to me outside when I was in the area, which included Greylag Geese and one particular Ring Billed Gull. These led me to believe that these birds recognized each other by the sound of their particular calls. I am sure that I am correct about this.
There was a small male goose that seemed so frustrated about something one day. He happened to be where I was working, and he just sighed. I just said, matter-of-factly, "What's the matter, honey?" He led me to an empty food bowl, so I just assumed that since he was so small that he had not gotten anything to eat. That was an easy fix!
i was also shown a mating dance by a young osprey, who seemed to enjoy people in general.
One day while on the way to the flight cage, I came face to face with a young buck. he had several other young deer behind him, but initially all I saw were a couple. He stomped on the ground and snorted at me, which was his way of trying to get me to back down and move out of his way. I answered by doing the same thing. Eventually, there were eight deer that moved closer and were behind the buck watching us. He stomped and snorted a few times, and I did the same. I was the one that moved to allow them all passage. They calmly walked past me, and if I had reached out, I was close enough to touch them all.
What I learned from the volunteer work, was that animals communicate differently, yes. The secret is that you can't listen like you can with a person, since speech(or lack thereof), gets in the way. You have to listen with your eyes, and that was what made it a lot easier for me to try to communicate with these animals. They will tell you what they want from you, but not in the conventional manner.
Some days during the winter were especially bad with the snow, which meant that stores were closed at Super G, a grocery store that I used to frequent in a strip mall. There were also restaurants that were there that the area gulls used to rely on to eat. I would cook chicken, rice, shrimp, carrots and potatoes for these birds and bring them a meal or two until this area was able to be plowed out and ready for business. I was approached by the lead gull about this, as he was the one that was supposed to be fed first. Fortunately, I was forgiven for the error of my ways, but I remembered. If you ever feed gulls, look for the oldest, which is one of the whitest with no spots. They also have lookouts, who will eat last.
This was also when young opossums would try to get something to eat out of the trash can next to the house. I recall trowing away some papers one day when I heard rustling in the trash can, and there was a little one on his back, grinning up at me. I picked him up, put him in a cat carrier, fed him cat food and bananas and gave him water. After I was satisfied that he was not dehydrated, I released him in an area park. Poor little guy didn't deserve to be in the city.
While in Clarion, PA, one winter, I happened to be looking outside the kitchen window and saw two Blue Jays battling. One was knocked to the ground and landed on his back in the snow. He couldn't get up again and stopped moving. At that point, I raced outside to help him, as it was a very cold day. I uprighted him, and he tried to fly and hit the house. Since he was uninjured, but very disoriented, I put him safely within a tall bush between my place and a neighbor's, where he rested and calmed down enough to leave, which took about an hour.
I was scheduled to work at a farm in PA after a heavy rainstorm and found a broken nest on the ground. In the area, I found a dead grackle, but his nestmate was very much alive. The owner of the farm tended to him(she worked with feral cats) until I left for the day with the grackle. I helped to raise him with another woman. When it was time to move to OK, this bird had been accepted in the area of my home in Clarion, PA by other grackles, but he would still visit with me and perch on my shoulder while I walked my greyhound.
Shortly after moving to Stillwater, OK, there was another occasion to help raise a baby robin. This little one had been found out of the nest, covered in ants. Its sibling had already passed on, and it was touch-and-go with this one for 24 hours. This bird successfully fledged and flew away after several weeks.
So here are a few things to whet your appetite and illustrate a few of things that I happened to be privy to. it seems that we all have our talents on Hubpages. There are those that can communicate with the Spirit World, those that know much about nutrition and food, those of us that know animals, and so many other wonderful things in between. If nothing else, I have learned that there is so much wisdom, foresight and hindsight in all of us and that each of us is a hub in the meaning of life. I am grateful to all of you that I have encountered thus far. Eventually, I will meet all of you, and that is my promise. In the meantime, thanks to all of you for the present and the future encounters. You are all unique individuals and are appreciated for what you do.