The wee gulls are growing more independent, by the day, though I’m not seeing much sign of intelligence, in either one. Loudenstein’s been trying to whistle them up to my balcony, to enjoy the feeder, but they don’t understand. He shrieks; they peep back. He squeals; they peep some more. He runs up and down the railing, flapping his wings; they cock their heads at him, and run around in circles. He stamps his feet; they flap off over the water. I say “That’s fine, Loudenstein; more food for you.” Loudenstein doesn’t understand. I wonder if my voice annoys him as much as his annoys me….
These gulls are not being affectionate, rubbing their beaks together. Rather, the young gull is trying to trigger a regurgitation reflex, by poking the red spot on its father’s beak, so it can get a free meal. Charming, eh?
I call this the “buh” face, when gulls point their beaks straight at me. They look so dim, so gormless, I almost expect to see a question mark materialise over their heads, like on a cartoon. The effect is even more pronounced, when they cock their heads to one side.
Gulls always look extra-stupid, from this angle. I think it’s the positioning of their eyes: it makes them look cross-eyed, and eternally perplexed.
And a sparrow, because who doesn’t love a good sparrow?
This sparrow looks like it’s listening for something…. Maybe it is. Soon, the house sparrows will go away, for the winter. I’ll miss their chirpy song, but my birdseed costs will be cut nearly in half.
I’ve named this gull Loudenstein, because he is loud. In the mornings, when he squawks at me, I say “F. off, Loudenstein.” I say it just like that — “F,” instead of “fuck.” You know, just in case one of my neighbours is out on their balcony, and hears me swearing at a bird.
Here is Loudenstein. He wants his breakfast. Unfortunately, I’m out of seed: he has to settle for suet. Loudenstein doesn’t like suet. He’ll eat it, but he doesn’t care for the way it sticks to his beak, and has to be scraped off.
Loudenstein isn’t ready to give in and eat the suet, just yet. He dawdles and preens. Maybe, he thinks, I’ll see him waiting, and put out some seed.
Still no seed. Loudenstein stares, squawks, and shakes himself out.
This pigeon, I call Limey, not because it’s British, but because when I first noticed it, from across the courtyard, I thought it had wee bird-lime footprints on its head. As it turns out, those are just its feathers. Must be a defect, of some sort.
Someone should take pity on this bird, and colour in its blank patches.
What an ugly face!