Friday, April 17, 2009

Never Eat Crow - Part II

When the dove flew back onto the ark, wasn't it carrying an olive branch? I don't remember anything about a finger. And I still seem to have all of mine.

So Twig was back. Now what?

We resigned ourselves to more bird poop inspired masterpieces everywhere.

The backyard chicken coop was still housing a couple of tired out old hens. We decided they might enjoy a fine retirement out at my mom and step-dad's place. They only laid an egg every month or so, the hens not the folks, and mom liked watching them peck around. Red Feathers and Chicken Little would be happy there and that would open up the hen house for a pigeon to live in.

It was hard for Bo to say good-bye to Chicken Little. Daughter and hen shared a special bond. Bo had stepped on Chicken Little's leg when Little was just a peep and the bone had snapped in two. We popsicle-sticked it into a cast and Bo carried the baby invalid around so long, C.L. would lay on her back in Bo's arms and stick her feet straight up in the air every time she was picked up.

We hated to see them leave, too, and tried to make it work with all three, but the hens had a flapping fit every time Twig came into the hen house. Somebody had to move out and Twig had already proven he was not taking part in the Pigeon Relocation Program.

The move was made and, with hardly a ruffled feather, the hens settled in to their new country home. Twig now had the joint to himself. We would open the door to the coop and give him a little fly around during the day. He was never hard to lure back in. All it took was food. He was a man pigeon. What can I say.

During one particular week he was gone - a lot. We began to think he'd broadened his horizons and might be moving on. But then he was back, with luggage. We noticed a little red haired girl pigeon our Charlie Brown was enamored with. She hung out on the periphery and wasn't the least interested in human contact. Twig flew in and out of his cage a hundred times and got down on the ground inside pretending to eat. He pecked and fluffed and cooed and tried, in every way, to convince her the coast was clear. She was not a believer.

Every day the courtship was the same with Twig trying to entice her into his bachelor pad. She would watch him and tip forward, touching her beak to the fence. She looked like a teapot being poured out and that's what we began to call her: Teapot. An unfortunate side-effect to all this was that the Modern Art Bird Poop Museum was growing in its display. What we had tried to eliminate was now expanding. It was in everyone's interest to arrange these nuptials - and fast.

We set out the choicest morsels for the marriage feast. Twig did his part by flying back and forth between Teapot and the supper table. We began to see signs of weakening. She would now fly down to the ground and walk around the outside the coop. We knew our move required cat-like reflexes and a coordinated effort the second she stepped far enough in to slam the gate shut.

For two days she hung around at the threshold and then, as hunger won out, she flew to a perch just inside. The Wild Man seized his opportunity, rushed in, and slammed the door on their future. Teapot went ballistic. Twig was thrilled. Let the honeymoon begin! But an appropriate marriage had to take place first.

You have never seen courtship until you've watched one pigeon applying her lipstick and the other one slickin' down his feathers with hair gel. Pigeons invented the term "Billing and Cooing." There is dancin', yee-hawin', bowing to your partner, and more struttin' than models on a runway. Teapot was a goner and seemed to forget she was now in captivity. She willingly became a slave to love. And her trust wasn't misplaced. Twig attended to her every need.

It wasn't long before she was sitting most of the time. And then I noticed her out pecking and stretching and Twig was sitting. I knew nothing about pigeon parenting but it's very progressive. Their time on the nest was shared equally. And when Twiglet was born (his sibling didn't make it) they tended and fed him together. It turns out pigeons are much like crows. They don't launch their babies until the babies are indistinguishable from the parents in size. It was nearly disgusting to see these poor parents trying to shove food down a bird throat large enough for them to crawl into. It was more reminiscent of "Jaws."

Finally, he ate on his own and Twig and Teapot left for a Bermuda vacation. It didn't pay off, though, because ten minutes later they were sitting again. Two babies were born out of that misspent time-off but they weren't long for this world. JoJo, our Border Collie/McNab was absolutely fascinated with their squawking and flapping and, in a moment of total dog abandon, dug under the edge of the coop and had squab for dinner. There was great dismay and chastisement from the kids and me. (I think Grizzly was cheering for the dog. He couldn't figure out what possible benefit their could be to pigeon replication.) To JoJo's credit, she did her best to look like she felt bad about it. She never really pulled it off.

With just the three birds we decided against adding to the flock and collected eggs when they showed up. And a few years later, before we left for an extended vacation, we relocated them all out to the grandparents' place. The old hens were still kickin' out there but the coop was so huge they barely noticed a few birds flying around. And containment kept Twig from flying home again. He hadn't been free at our house for quite sometime due to his artwork and this coop was big enough to contain a tree. Life was good but Twig passed on eventually and Twiglet married his mother. It became a Greek tragedy.

I told you keeping crows was illegal and now you know why - they turn into demented pigeons. Those Fish and Game people know what they're doing and next time, I'm listening.

Copyright 2009


  1. ROFL!! That is just a hilarious hilarious story... did I say that I found it funny?

    Crows, demented pigeons, love and Jaws - this story has it all!

  2. I am slack jawed and chortling at the same time. You KEPT the rats with wings? Oy!

    Then again, I must admit that I watched 2 of them for about 20 minutes one day. They sat up on the kids playset and went about their foreplay. Twenty minutes for 20 seconds of sex? Nope. Not for me.

  3. This has been weird, but fascinating. Does Twiglet still live with your parents?? You and my sister should totally meet!

  4. Very, very well-done! If you haven't read Eddie's "Mickey, the Celibate Budgie" stories should!!!! The two of you are a team!!! Gilbert and Sullivan watch out! Me? I agree with LadyFi, and have only to add that the Charlie Brown references made this absolutely perfect :-)

  5. This time I had the wisdom to put my coffee to the side while I read your post. I knew I'd spew coffee all over my keyboard in the middle of a full laugh out loud! Yep,.. it was a good idea. ... I'm still laughing. Love your writing, Robynn.

  6. I'm writing through tears of laughter... absolutely delightful story-telling. One of these days I might tell you about the 'two-headed' toad in our Koi pond ... but for now, Thank You. Down here in Hill Country, we have an abundance of White-tailed Dove, but they're kissin' cousins of PIGEONS!!!

  7. Great story! I have morning doves in my yard unless the cats get them. I like to hear them cooing early in the morning.

  8. That was priceless. You certainly have a gift. Don't ever stop writing here okay?

  9. Oh I love that picture of the two of them together!! XX

  10. Hilarious! Oh the merriment and my aching sides!! Well done, Robynn! I need to invent a symbol for me standing her clapping for you, until I do though, you'll just have to take my word for it!!

  11. I finally had a chance to read the Twig story. Funny. It's the second time in a few short weeks that I was reminded of the time that I actually had a pet crow!!


  12. I LOVE your short stories!! You really should publish them. You'd be famous :-)

    Where do you find all your pics? They're perfect additions! I was so taken in with the love story! :-p Beautiful...just beautiful.

  13. I raised pigeons. I raised tumblers, fan tails, and homing pigeons.
    But I don't have stories like yours.

  14. ha! What a great story! Greek Tragedy indeed. :)

  15. I don't know why our church's magazine (Reformed Presbyterian Witness) didn't ask YOU to write the courtship article instead of US - you're the one who knows how it REALLY works! 'course now you'll have all the young people pinin' for love like Twig and Teapot's (see, look at my Kaylee Bean... drawn in to the love story. Next she'll be scoopin' 'em up at the supermarket...). Well, what will be will be. (Stream of consciousness here: Did Bus ever tell you about their steer, Willby? Named as such for "Will Be" MEAT!)
    Have a great day.

  16. LadyFi: I promise I'll keep writing you stories if you take me with you to the cabin! lol

    Sharon: Think of all the CALORIES they burn!

    Jillybean: After reading about her goat, sheep, and horse she came home with, I think your evaluation is spot on. And yes, Twiglet lives on! Old pigeons never die, they just stop "painting." Then they eat prunes for breakfast.

    Sniffles & Smiles: Yes, must go read about Eddie's budgie. I have a story about Kiwi, our budgie, too. I read about Mickey in Eddie's serialized story. Thanks for reminding me to go back and look. :) And glad for any chuckles that came your way!

    Cedar: My crazy life HAS to have yielded a story or two because that makes it all worthwhile. And the fact that you LIKE how I tell them to the point you are not safe with coffee, well the reviews don't get better than that! Thank you! :)

    Fruitcake Sandy: YOU HAVE to tell the two-headed toad story. Let me know when you do! And yes, pigeons and doves are the same family. That's why I could never figure out why if you say "dove" people clasp their hands to their chest with a sigh. Mention pigeon? Different reaction. One important difference though I must admit: smaller artwork.

    Becky: Don't you love that sound? I have a pair building a nest in a patio corner right now.

    Kathy: I thank you most kindly and I don't think I CAN stop. I'm addicted. Thank you, dearie! :)

    Ladybird: Confession time - that's a borrowed picture. I have plenty but they need to be scanned due to not being in digital form and I don't have a scanner. NEED ONE DESPERATELY! (The two pictured are nearly identical, though.)

    Vicky: Thank you for the visual and the kind words. Believe me, both will live on in my head where nothing seems to escape except what I need to do in the way of housework!

    Kelly: You have to tell the story of actually OWNING a crow! It's obvious the story keeps tapping you on the shoulder!

    Kaylee Bean: MUST.FIND.MARKET. I am willing to publish. Had lots of fun with all you kiddos last night, my little friend!

    Dr. John: I do not believe for one minute, with your writing and creative imagination that you don't have MANY pigeon stories. Just mine it, like I do. Yes, Virginia, you CAN get blood out of a turnip!

    Tabitha: Oedipus LIVES.

    Naomi: We find our laughs where we can, don't we?!

    McCrackens: I will NEVER measure up to the beautiful, lyrical writing style of your dear husband and my pastor/friend. And I'm sure I'm far too irreverent for the magazine. If they knew me I might be excommunicated so let's keep it on the "down low." LOL! And yes, I thought I saw a few stars come out in those Kaylee Bean eyes!

  17. I will never look at pigeons the same way I did before I read your story!

  18. Awwwww You kept him and he had a wittle family awwwww. Now every time I see pigeons I'll think of Twig. Awesome story Robynn.
    Have A Blessed Weekend!

  19. Ha ... Greek tragedy... but, really, did they get together?!? ...or was it because they were enclosed together ...or did they have a choice with the coup being open? Curiosity abound.

  20. Loved it Robbyn! It was a pity about the loss of the baby pidgeon - you naughty dog! At least Twig was able to enjoy the pleasures marital life which was more than my poor Mickey the budgie, who was confined to a life of celebacy, alas.
    I thoughly enjoyed the two part series.

  21. Great story! The ending was perfect. I'll have to ponder the goat and raccoon story this reminds me of, but I don't think I can do them justice if I try to blog about them. I think I need my husband there to give the background noises of disgust.

    Great job!

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