As I’ve mentioned before, my husband owns racing pigeons. He doesn’t race them at the moment, but there they are, eating us out of house and home. As a side effect of this eating business, the local wild bird population has learnt that if they hang around, there is the chance of free food. The usual culprits are the turtle doves we call ‘Torries’, short for the Afrikaans name Tortelduif. They patter around all over the place, peeping and peering, occasionally taking flight to avoid the cats or dog.
On a fairly regular basis one will end up in my kitchen, panic, and then try to fly through a window instead back out the door. They’ve broken innumerable objects over the years, usually by knocking things off the windowsill and into the sink, often taking out innocent plates or cups as well.
The only solution is ejecting the bird, which can be easier said than done. You need to be quick, and I always worry about hurting the bird. My son is much better at it than I am, and yesterday when he heard a bird flapping around in the kitchen, he went to the rescue.
He caught the bird, gripping it firmly yet gently, and was somewhat shocked when the bird kept going. He said afterwards that it felt as if he literally had half the bird in his hand, and he really, really didn’t want to take a closer look at what he was holding.
It turned out that what he was holding was the bird’s tail feathers. All of them. And few things I have seen look quite as odd as a tailless bird.
Since birds use their tail feathers for steering and control, we decided to keep him/her for a while until the feathers grow back.
We have noticed that one particular bird keeps hanging around the tailless one. Romeo and Juliet? Or possibly the one on the outside is only saying something like ‘Toss us a few mealies (corn) won’t you? You’ve got plenty.’