Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Monday, May 03, 2010

These Guys Crack Me Up

My father hated blue jays.

"They're pigs," he said. "They hog all the food and push the smaller birds out of the way."

I can't say as I hate them. I think they're beautiful. But I agree, they are pigs. They do hog all the food. And these guys crack me up the way they gather around together. So much for individuality. They walk alike, squawk alike, they even dress alike. Kind of reminds me of how bikers clump together during Bike Week. (Think if I had a Harley [with a side car for Atticus, of course] I'd be seeking out places where other bikers didn't go. It's the whole freedom thing. And yes, it's kind of like hiking: a few people do the Grid and others blindly much for hiking your own hike. Okay, that's enough editorializing for tonight.)

Recently someone actually called me a "bad person" because I continue to feed the birds now that the bears are out of hibernation. In the name of compromise I now take the feeders in after the birds are done eating each evening and put them back up in the morning. Besides, I don't see the Shannon Door Pub or the Thompson House Eatery or the JTown Deli closing down because the bears like their respective dumpsters.

But the blue jays have been a problem the last few days and they've been bullying the finches. Not a fair fight. So, once again, in the spirit of compromise, I put some sunflower seeds down for them away from the feeder and now they eat well, as do the finches. Detente.

Now all I to do is teach them a thing or two about individuality. You know, telling them they each need to fly their 'freak flag'. Anyone got an old copy of Richard Bach's Jonathon Livingston Seagull lying around?

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