[Tweeters] Three Kinds of Birds

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Wed Nov 26 04:53:12 PST 2014

Still here at my parents home in Port Townsend , where we all continue to watch birds - in our own different ways.
A few days ago, while sitting at the kitchen table Dad noted, "Oh there's Mom's duck", as a big Glaucous-winged Gull landed on the deck rail just outside the window.
Now, a visiting Social Worker, or somebody who only knows Dad as someone with dementia, might chalk up this statement as another 'Alzheimer's moment", but they would be wrong about that. It's just another example of Dad's "Three Kinds of Birds" theory. It's really more of a proposal, guess.
You see, about 40 years ago Dad came up with his classification system, possibly as an antidote to hearing too many overbearing bird reports from his bratty bird- know-it-all son (me)." Nobody likes a know-it-all" was an oft-used phrase in our family, since we all have forms of that particular behavioral dysfunction.
"Well" Dad would state, in his droll way, "you know, there's three kinds of Birds - sparrows, ducks, and hawks." And Dad was always able, somehow, to fit any visible bird into one of those categories. Small birds were sparrows; many waterbirds, like a gull, could be put in the duck section; and eagles, ospreys, owls,etc could be hawks. You can see the logic, or whatever, of his idea, maybe. Dad did adjust his list occasionally, like substituting robins for sparrows etc. - but there could only be three birds at a time.
Usually the duck category stayed there, as a nod to Mom, the duck freak. Mom has a pretty nice collection of decades worth of wooden, metal, ceramic, and stone, ducks that cover many of the the available horizontal surfaces here in their home.
Back to the big Gull on the deckrail. "Oh, that's my little buddy!" Mom chirped, and went looking for some more goodies to give it. The gull is so well trained (it doesn't take much), that now it is often stalking us down the deckrail as we walk past the view windows in the living room, around into the kitchen - the deckrail gives a great interior view of the house for the feathery ,spying, Pooparazzi.
Particularly well lit in the afternoon sun, the big gull was leaking an inordinate amount of nasal drip (draining the gland they have that desalinates sea water) - shaking it's head and spraying the stuff all over. While intently mooching at us through the window, the gull was briefly distracted by three yellowjackets that were trying to land on it's big pink foot. It was sort of doing 'the two-step' trying to shake off the bugs, until finally, the bird nabbed a wasp right out of the air and swallowed it. "Hey, he just ate a bug!", Dad noted. An Anna's hummingbird slurping at the feeder - about two feet away- seemed to be ignoring the whole scene.
Jeff Gibsonnot counting birds, inPort Townsend Wa

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