Sunday, March 21, 2010

Even birds need mediators sometimes

It was early morning as I strolled along the beach with Oliver. There wasn't another soul to be seen. No sounds of humankind assaulted my ears - just the soft swish of waves on sand and the quiet chatter of gulls foraging among the shells for a morsel to eat. In the distance a heron stands knee deep (do herons have knees?), his long neck stretched forward as he carefully plans his ambush on an unfortunate fish below the surface. A cormorant sits on the edge of the wharf, and a flock of mallards pull weeds from a land-locked pond.

At the edge of the water, two oystercatchers confer, heads together.

Suddenly, the serenity is shattered as the oystercatchers begin to quarrel loudly in their high-pitched voices. John and Blanche Bickerson have been reincarnated, I think to myself. There is no other way to describe it - the birds are quibbling. Quibble, quibble, quibble, nag, nag, nag. On and on they go, as crows and gulls and ducks look on.

But one gull took it upon himself to intervene. He strutted across the sand, and plonked himself between the quibbling catchers. He wasn't obnoxious. He didn't scream at them. But he did give them a no-nonsense sort of look, and in a low, level tone made some very pointed comments on their behaviour.

They stopped their racket and had the decency to look abashed - almost startled - as Dr. Phil Seagull gave them some sage advice on communication and family relationships.

Soon peace was restored, and all the birds went back to the task of finding something to eat. Dr Phil Seagull thanked his audience, trotted off down the beach, and disappeared from view.

As for Oliver, he had only one thing on his mind - getting into the water for his polar bear dip.

Swim complete, we headed home for a quiet day of cooking, cleaning, and listening to music. I'm off to the mainland again in the morning, armed with some soups and stews and apple pie for my mom and a load of home reno receipts and other papers for my tax accountant. Back late Thursday no new blogs until the end of the week.

Sunlight on partially submerged log

(You can hear an oystercatcher's song by clicking here - then click on the "listen" button in the top left of the page. )

1 comment:

EvenSong said...

Lovely story. And I'm sure your interpretation of events is exactly what transpired. (No anthropomorphism here. None. ;-D) I wonder if Dr. Phil Seagull would work with a few of my fifth graders?