Wednesday, May 20, 2009

For the Birds

The Blog:
Since my boys and I have been bird watching for scouting requirements over the past couple of months, I thought I'd do a bird/flight theme for May. But May is almost over, so it'll be birds for May and flight for June.

The following is an entry I posted on a different blog a few months ago about trimming my parakeet's beak. It seemed to fit the bill. No pun intended. Really.

Recently I trimmed my parakeet’s beak. I’ve had parakeets most of my life, but this was the first time one of my birds’ beaks ever grew too long. The beak became monstrous, actually, curving and scaly like a rusted scimitar poking into poor Gordy’s green chest. Ew. I had no idea how it happened, being a faithful hanger of cuttlebones and sprinkler of gravel on the cage floor.

Was this vet-worthy? I wondered and vacillated, not being a subscriber to parakeet insurance. Somehow Gordy managed to eat and clamber, but I knew something had to be done. Finally one day I walked into the bathroom—yes, due to cat issues we keep two parakeets in the master bathroom—and something snapped.

Grabbing a pair of fingernail clippers and a washcloth, I took a deep breath and approached the cage. “This won’t hurt a bit,” I cooed, sliding open the door and inserting a washcloth-draped hand. Gordy didn’t believe me and exploded into squawking green fireworks. Persistence paid and I caught her, gently, and proceeded with the trim. When I finished, both of us felt a bit shaken. However, not being a farm girl accustomed to animal husbandry and the like, I felt a bit heady also. I clipped the beak!

It was a Minor Triumph. I like Minor Triumphs, little surprises that pop into days often filled with perplexing problems that require long-term efforts to solve, or at least manage. Small or quirky as they may be, they are still triumphs, worth a little smile and a lingering savor.

The PHP (Personal History Prompt):
Do you have any memories of birds? Pets? Birds that lived or nested near you? Finding a nest or trying to make one? Did you know someone who liked birds? Or did you ever try to fly or wish you could?

The Etymology: Bird
O.E. bridd, originally "young bird" (the usual O.E. for "bird" being fugol), of uncertain origin with no cognates in any other Gmc. language.

I thought it interesting that bird actually came from Old English--not Latin through French or a Germanic language. Hmm.

The Links:
This looks like a fun site with coloring, games, and facts about birds for kids.

Here's a site about the "corridors" hummingbirds use when migrating and the loss of this habitat:

How about identifying bird songs? I think this is cool.

The Book: Guardians of GaHoole Series, by Kathryn Lasky
My oldest three kids, two boys and one girl, with an age range spanning five years, all got into this fantasy series a few years ago. It's about good owls fighting the evil ones. I only read a couple, but they were fun. Might be a good summer read.

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