What About? - Nancy Sherer

So is this going to be another 'can you believe the weather this year?' article where I wax poetical about robins hopping through snow drifts? I could do that, but then this would be the last sentence you read.

But my editor requested a seasonal piece, and there's no point in arguing. I shouldn't have asked for an assignment because I know from past experience that she will say whatever idea first comes into her head, adding that if I was half as smart as I think I am, I could write about it. Certainly, there are lots of things left to say about birds and weather.

Weather has been around a long time, but was it invented by people who needed something to talk about? Maybe so. At least that is what weather turned out being. What color is the sky? What is the sky going to do? Is there some way that I can build an artificial sky over my head? Which is when hats were invented.

But weather isn't so much about the sky as it is about what is going to fall out of it. That's when prehistoric language really took off. What is that white stuff falling from the sky? Is it flakes? No, more like little white balls. No, it melts before it hits the ground. Hey, we need to invent a new word for this!

Come to think of it, not only language, but technology owes a debt of gratitude to weather inventers. More than just hats, but clothes, buildings, probably even farming wouldn't be necessary if it wasn't for weather.

So there are a lot of unexplored weather topics. Now let me turn to the second part of the assignment which was birds. Birds have been doing the same things for millions of years, but in recent history, they have taken up crashing into my living room window.

Over the years I have tried many things to prevent it. I think decorations work, especially if they have faces. Christmas elves, teddy bear hearts, leprechauns, bunnies. I try to keep my window in tune with current festivals. That is for my benefit, not the birds. Some work better than others. I advise against autumn themes. Birds ignore brown and orange, even if it is something as suspicious as a grinning turkey.. Along with faces, symmetry makes bird brains veer away. They are also leery of the color pink.

A lot fewer birds hit my picture windows these days, and when they do, I just move a decoration a few inches over to hide the feathers left behind.

Smallest bird to ever hit my window: hummingbird. Biggest bird to ever hit my window? Chucker. A chucker is the same size as a healthy chicken, and probably are just as tasty. I didn't test that out of course because it wasn't in plastic wrap. In theory, chuckers are delicious game birds.

That's the best I can do on that topic. I will not ask again for fear of getting assigned some kind of travel piece.

Nancy Sherer