First there was Erica, the Wiseass Jooette herownself, whose complacent quotidian existence was thrown into turmoil (or, as she might say, toimerl) by the unanticipated arrival of one Doofus the Cockatiel.
Doofus (AKA Vlad the Impaler, on account of his purported viciousness) was clearly an escaped pet, cockatiels not being native to Sheepshead Bay. His owner evidently has been in no hurry to track him down, however, and it is not an unreasonable conjecture that said owner might have, ahhh, gently encouraged Doofus to escape.
Meanwhile, upon our recent arrival in northwestern Connecticut, we saw all manner of avian life.
Flocks of mallard ducks graced the local lakes.
Monday morning, we saw a brace of wild turkeys in the Mistress of Sarcasm’s back yard. After pecking their way around the perimeter, they waddled off into the woods, up the mountain that sits behind the house. The Mistress informs us that they are daily visitors.
Gobble, gobble: Wild turkeys invade the Mistress’s back yard.
Are they tasty? I wondered. No, responded the Mistress. Apparently, that experiment has been essayed: The turkeys, disappointingly, are gamey, stringy affairs. That surprises me not at all, but still, I would be willing to try one. Think of it, a non-factory-produced bird fed on... whatever the fuck it is that wild turkeys eat. Slower wild turkeys, I imagine.
The weirdest Bird-Sighting we had, though, was the pheasants.
In Sharon, Connecticut, there is a pheasant farm that raises and sells Mongolian ring-necked pheasants. They’re beautiful birds, with their characteristic red head and white neck feathers; they also make excellent hunting and eating.
And they’re smart enough to recognize an opportunity when they see one.
Just before Hallowe’en, northwestern Connecticut was hammered by a rare early nor’easter, a storm that dropped a foot and a half of sodden, wet snow on trees that still were carrying most of their leaves. Predictably, a lot of limbs snapped off, wreaking havoc with the distribution of electrical power (the Mistress was off the grid for four full days) and damaging untold numbers of trees.
The pheasant coops at the Sharon Pheasant Farm were, apparently, no match for the storm’s destructive power. They collapsed, releasing over 6,000 pheasants into the Great Outdoors. I can picture it now, pheasants jabbering to each other in whatever passes for Pheasant-Language:
“Awright, guys... the wall’s down and there ain’t no screws in sight! Let’s make a break for it - anyone stayin’ behind ends up on a plate!”
Since then, pheasant spotting has become an Everyman’s Sport in Sharon and its environs. Sunday, as we passed through the town - even as the Mistress was relating the story to us - a solitary pheasant stood in the middle of the road, as if to dare motorists to flatten him. We approached cautiously and slowed to a standstill, whereupon the unperturbed bird marched to the other side of the road as if to inspire a retort to the age-old Chicken Riddle.
Boids. I tells ya, there’s a soifeit of boids in da Nawtheast!