6: Uncontrollable Brats
BEDLAM erupted once Donald and Daisy arrived on the balcony railing. Not only couldn’t their parents control them but neither could I. Mum and Dad didn’t seem to mind in the least the fact that I had taken over responsibility for feeding their brats, on the contrary, they were positively pleased that they could just sit back and pig out while I handled the mayhem of feeding their kids as well as them.
Mum of course sits on the nest and hatches the chicks while Dad feeds her, then once the chicks are born, she feeds them while they are small, but I only learned later when they brought along their second lot of brats, that as they grow, Dad slowly takes over the feeding duties while Mum weans herself off them and mostly feeds herself, leaving the babies to Dad’s care. Other species of birds apparently do the same thing – poor downtrodden guys.
Dan’s Hamburger Stand didn’t open until the brats were hatched and already fledglings.
Dad would satisfy his hunger first while I fed them, for they were quite capable of looking after their own stomachs, but once he hesitated and held a morsel of meat in his mouth, they would crouch down, puff their feathers and make mewling sounds to entice the old man to feed them, even though they already had a gut full.
Of course Dad was weak and succumbed every time even though they were nearly as big as him. Not then understanding the way nature worked, I used to give him a roasting, calling him names like piss weak, softy, stupid dumb bird, but he took no notice of me and continued to feed them. I wondered why?
Squeaky and his mates were usually on the railing first in those days but when Mum, Dad and the Brats arrived, Squeaky and his crew would move lickety split up a level to the guttering that runs along the eaves of the building so as to get out of the way, for it was apparent that they tolerated the magpies, (and vice versa) but there was no love lost between the two groups.
Donald and Daisy soon caught onto Squeaky’s sly maneuver of moving up to the dress circle to be fed unhindered so when this occurred they would both noisily flap their wings and fly up onto the guttering, upsetting the butcherbirds no end.
They would then butt in, intercepting the flying pellets of hamburger on the way to Squeaky’s mouth and gobbling up the morsels in mid air before they reached their intended target. You can just imagine how upsetting that was for Squeaky and his mates.
They threw a temper tantrum and when they did, Donald and Daisy caused a bigger scene. There was feathers flying left right and center and while world war three was going on, Mum and Dad sat quietly on the railing, watching and waiting patiently for me to sort the kids out and resume feeding them – them being Mum and Dad of course.
Each time I had to shoo the brats off the guttering with wild, maniacal sweeps of my arms which made the rest of the terrified birds scatter in all directions – even Mum and Dad did a flyer. My crazy actions caused my human neighbors some concern. It was hopeless, so we all (Squeaky’s mob and me) grimaced in anticipation of the chaos that was to come whenever Donald and Daisy appear on the railing.
That was when Donald had the bright idea to waddle up to my feet on the balcony floor and peck at my toes. When I took notice of him, he would look up at me and do his duck quacking trick to inform me that he wanted to be fed. Strangely, neither Daisy nor any of the other birds caught on to that trick – thank heavens.
With all those eyes intently watching me at feed time, I began slowly to become aware that they were more than just birds – they were individual expressions of life. Each one had a separate personality with its own individual quirks – like Donald for instance. But Donald had yet another surprise in his repertoire….
Dan’s Quote: “To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing
_____________as one’s own in the midst of abundance.”- Buddha