Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Mystery of the Bathing Bird

I have lived in my small town for going on four years now, and it only just occurred to me two weeks ago that I live in the mountains. Never having lived in the mountains before, my eyes have been opened to shocking concepts, namely that winter lasts a lot longer. Despite this somewhat disappointing fact, spring does eventually even come to the mountains, and along with spring comes little birds.

I have noticed that little birds really enjoy being clean. Now, one must bear in mind that my small town does have a lovely, small river running through it. This small river is even replete with little shallow areas of slow moving water; a veritable bathing bird's paradise.

But is this where the birds choose to take their daily dip? No. Rather they choose my dog's water dish sitting in the backyard. From sunup to sundown, it is not uncommon for me to see large groups of little birds communing around my dog's water dish. They sit on the edge. They jump in and fluff their feathers through the water. They poop in it. . . And it's only eight inches in diameter.

My dog could be sitting right there, next to the dish, and some brazen bird is flitting around in his dish, bathing itself. Sometimes Lewis is too close to the dish and the birds get antsy, jumping around him, waiting for him to move so they can dive in.

How do these birds even know his dish is there? When they have an entire body of water to douse themselves with, what draws them to two inches of water in an eight inch dish in a dandelion-filled yard?

Maybe the answer will come to me, in about four years . . .

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