I wasn’t feeling well on Saturday so Rich took all the children out for a few hours so I could rest. David stayed home with me because he loves spending Saturdays at home in his own little world of creativity and good wholesome fun that involves things like balloons, vinegar, cornstarch, food coloring, yarn, wooden Thomas the train tracks, and empty play dough buckets.
He was so utterly interesting that I got off the couch and sat next to him on the floor. He was attempting to catch a bird. He’s been catching birds for about 6 years now. He doesn’t do it on a constant basis, just when the mood strikes. We had a lot of bird activity at the feeder on Saturday and when David stopped and noticed them, the mood struck once again.
I typically have a terra cotta planter on this little table, filled with sunflower seeds. David removed the planter and put a pile of seed underneath a big play dough bucket. He propped up the bucket with a train track and tied a long piece of yarn to it.
The little table with the bird seed is only about five feet from the side entry way door. The storm door is full length glass so David ran the yarn under the door and sat right on the other side of it with the end of the string in his hands, which were charmingly dirty from other experiments.
I sat next to him with my camera and a piece of paper to jot down his quotable quotes. Everything he said made me laugh.
This chickadee landed on the track and knocked it over, causing a loud groan from Dave.
He went out to set things in order again.
Whenever there was a “misfire” he would go out loudly apologizing to the birds. “Everything is okay….that was supposed to happen!” He wanted to make it clear to the bird community that there was nothing to get suspicious about.
“I love to do this,” he told me as he settled back down with the string in his hands.
He had to get up to brush the seeds completely UNDER the bucket because they were choosing seeds that were in safer locations……”Now they’re dedicated to go all the way under there.”
He was very patient. Much more than I. A bird would come and I would say, “Why didn’t you pull the string?”
“I couldn’t! It wasn’t all the way under. I don’t want the edge to come down on the bird’s neck and break it!”
Hearing this piece of wisdom made it easy to bring the conversation around to the subject of the guillotine. “What’s that?” He asked, with his eyes on the bucket. “When you lay down and they let the sharp metal fall on your neck.” “Oh yeah. I hate those!” I laughed, imagining that this hatred was typical of the whole of humanity.
He was also very careful because if he killed one right in plain sight of the other birds they would never come back around to the feeder, he said.
After another miss, he sat down and immediately another bird came around. He was astonished. “Mom, look at this. Stupid birds, they go right back. Fool birds. That’s what I call them. Fool Birds.”
“I have to wait for one to stall, then I’ll get it.”
“I love to do this.” He was all smiles. “It’s like fishing, hunting, and trapping.”
He caught one.
He took a clipboard (you could also use cardboard or whatever) to put on top of the bucket. He wasn’t planning on holding it but I encouraged him. He was shaking a little as he tried to gently catch it in his hand.
“He is the hero of the woods; there are courage and good nature enough in that compact little body, which you may hide in your fist…….” Ernest Ingersoll
“Thus it is, that in all the lands of snowy winters the chickadee is a loved comrade of the country wayfarer; that happy song ‘chick-a-dee-dee-dee’ finds its way to the dullest consciousness and the most callous heart.” Anna Comstock
The little chickadee was a brave fighter. He bit Dave’s thumb and held on tight.
I got to hold it, too, and then we let it fly away. He caught three that day.
Now that you know how Dave catches birds, you can try it too! Let us know how it goes. It’s a great activity for anyone, old or young.
This morning I found Dave peeling a balloon off of a big ball of ice. He had made a water balloon and put it in the freezer over night. He was surrounded by siblings as he peeled it. It wasn’t frozen all the way, so he trotted it back to the freezer……