The Cast: Curt (supporter), Dallas (twitterer), Erich (watcher), Myself (observer).
Dallas was proficient in chatting up birds. I once saw it first-hand.
Erich and I were seated on my porch when Dallas and Curt came walking by. The four of us started to talk, and it was quickly decided that we should go and do something like get a soda, head to the park, watch a movie, or whatever. Cool. Good summer plan: The Unknown.
However, just as we were about to leave, a bird alighted upon one of the trellises my mother had installed to keep the vines from gripping the stone walls of our house directly. This would derail our plans.
This was one of those beautiful summer days where the sun was out, a few clouds were there to help cool the air, a gentle breeze to take just the slightest edge off the heat, and even the birds were singing. It’s this latter one that caused all the trouble.
Just as the four of us were about to head off to wherever it was we were going to do whatever it was we were going to do, a small yellow bird took perch within the framework of wood and vines that were my front wall. This activity obviously caught our attention, and we all paused to take stock of this lovely moment of nature. For Dallas, this was instantly something different. I don’t know what took over him, but he wanted to talk to that bird. He wanted to hold that bird. He wanted to pet that bird. I know this because he told us all as much.
“I just want to get it to land on my finger so I can pet it and talk to it,” Dallas informed us as he ever so slowly inched forward toward the bird, his arm outstretched and an index finger extended (Dallas’s arm and finger, not the birds). There was a new energy about him. It was something I had not seen before. It was predatory, but, not in the way of say, a lion toward a zebra. It was more of a scholar toward a new subject. He was going to have it. He had to have it. He was also going to be kind and gentle with it.
With each step that Dallas took, the little yellow bird grew more and more nervous. It began to jump to higher perches within the trellis. As it did, Dallas would stop, and then chirp and whistle at it.
“He’s good at this. He can call his parkette from anywhere in the house,” Curt informed us. As if to verify his skills for the group, Dallas began to alter the pitch and volume of his chirps and such, in an attempt to find that particular bird’s sound. It didn’t take long. Soon, the little yellow fellow wasn’t as afraid. You could see the change in its demeanor. It was an impressive sight.
“Okay, I get it. You can talk to birds. Can we go, now?” I was beginning to get impatient. While it was a nice day, the sun was hot, and If I attempted to move back into shadow—or at all—the bird became frightened and we were back to square one. I know because I moved and we went back to square one. So, three of us stood as still as possible, and as quiet as possible, as Dallas and the little yellow fellow talked. One would whistle, the other would chirp, and back and forth the relationship developed. It was like watching a nature program, in real life. I take that back, it was like watching a low-budget nature film, in real life. No, I take that back too. It was like having to pay to watch a no-budget nature show, in real life.
Still, it was the most interesting thing I had come across that morning, so who was I to criticize?
As boring as it was, we were all enamored with the progress that was taking place. Over the course of four days, Dallas had made significant progress in the development of a relationship of trust with Yellow Fellow. It wasn’t really four days, it just felt like it. The sun was suddenly hotter, and brighter, and where did the clouds go…? Great…
“I almost go this…” Dallas was inches away from Yellow Fellow. The little bird had been back and forth in his trust with our friend. More than once, Yellow Fellow had hopped closer to the hand of Dallas, only to hop away again. Once Dallas had found the right sounds, however, Yellow Fellow’s trust grew quickly. It hopped lower and lower… Dallas slowly stepped closer, and closer…
It was at this point I noticed Dallas’s arm was no longer stretched at full length. His arm was bent closer to his body. This change had happened almost imperceptibly over the course of the twentyish minutes we had been standing there.
“So, (chirp, whistle, chirp) when he lands (chirp, chirp, chirp) on my finger (whistle, chirp), he will be close (chirp) to me (whistle, whistle, chirp), and I will (chirp, chirp, whistle, chirp) be able to (chirp, chirp, chirp, whistle) pet him (whistle) more easily (chirppity, chirp, chirp),” Dallas explained, all while maintaining communication with Yellow Fellow. While I was still hot and sweaty from just standing there, I was becoming more and more impressed—as were Erich and Curt—with the nature of the nature that was taking place before our very eyes. The grumpiness of my wait was almost gone. The thrill of the success was almost complete—and the sole emotion on deck. Dallas was going to coax a wild, flittering, tiny yellow bird to him. Cool…
Suddenly, we were there. The moment had come. Dallas had his hand right in the spot where the bird wanted it. Somehow—I’m guessing through experience with his own parakeet—Dallas understood where he was supposed to be. How he was to stand. Yellow Fellow was making his motions that told us he trusted and was about to make the leap of faith. Kinda like in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) when Indiana steps out onto the bridge that you can’t see. The ‘leap of faith’. That scene. You could almost see Yellow Fellow making that same sort of mental battle of “Should I? Shouldn’t I?” with himself. Then, he did it! Yellow Fellow jumped from his perch of safety and security onto the right index finger of my buddy, Dallas! It happened! It only took all day (about thirty minutes), but they did it! The two of them bridged a gap between man versus nature and made a solid connection.
It lasted a whole sixteenth of a second.
Almost as soon as Yellow Fellow landed on the finger, he dropped a bomb. For such a tiny bird it was an impressive amount of poop. The white stuff was suddenly everywhere and dripping off of Dallas’s fingers and hand. “What the…!?!?” was his first reaction, followed immediately by, “STUPID BIRD!!!” as he flung Yellow Fellow off his hand and into the air.
No worries. Yellow Fellow could fly.
And, he did. Away. Yellow Fellow flew away and left the four of us behind. Three laughing so hard that tears streamed down our cheeks, and one struggling to find where to turn on my water hose so he could wash his hand (and maybe cool himself off a little bit).