Posts made in October, 2005

Conspiracy Theory

Posted by on Oct 20, 2005 in All things natural, Just for laughs | 0 comments

My husband hates buzzards. I think it has something to do with a hunting trip he went on in his younger days. As I remember the story, he and his friend Buddy went out to kill rabbits, but fortunately for the rabbits, the guys weren’t having any luck. Wandering about, they came upon a creepy looking house with a “wake” of buzzards perched on the roof. Having nothing else to do, they may have randomly lobbed a few shots in that direction. Most of the birds flew away, but just for spite, the king buzzard flew over the two hunters, and having no bombs to drop in retaliation, he emptied the contents of his offal filled stomach in their path. I don’t think the barf actually hit anyone, as they were young and fleet of foot, but they still believe the bird stalked them the rest of the day. I personally think it might have just been a guilty conscience that sent them scurrying under trees at every bird shadow on the ground.

Now never having wandered out on a fall day to kill things, I have a hard time understanding why this resulted in long term resentment toward the species. I mean, they were firing ammunition which could have resulted in a buzzard funeral, while the birds were only trying to defend their life with what they had available. Over the years I have tried to point out the buzzards more endearing qualities to my mate, how beautiful they look flying circles far above, and what an important role they have in clearing decaying road kill from the highways. He scowls and curses under his breath in an agitated fashion till I can’t resist drawing his attention to each new sighting.

Living as we do near several interstate highways, we have a large population of carrion eaters in our area. They are particularly fond of the microwave tower near the cloverleaf of 295 and 301. Traveling back and forth to work each day I see them sitting patiently on the treelike branches of what they must perceive as a giant sequoia. Lately I’ve been thinking about what kind of effect those large bodies might have on the cell phone reception in our area. My cell phone worked in Yellowstone National Park where they had no TV reception and only one radio station, but it does not work in my house, 12 miles. as the buzzard flies, from the heart of Richmond. The husband has the same problem with his older phone as I do with my spiffy new flip open one.

I called the friendly customer service people at Sprint and asked about this problem. Connie, my friendly Sprint representative, seemed surprised and asked me several questions, including one that took me aback. “Are there a lot of trees in your area”, she asked, sweet as sugar, but trained to be evasive. I thought of all the pictures I have seen of the east coast of the US from the air and paused a moment. “Well yes,” I replied, leaving off the fact that the dominant land use for the entire 95 corridor is forest, “do microwaves not travel through trees?” She stated that she was sure that was my problem, but I could upgrade my phone for a small fee and possibly eliminate the difficulty. She also offered several other upgrades that she assured me would save me money in the long run.

After hanging up from the call I started thinking about the skulking outlines of the buzzards waiting patiently on the tower. I checked to find out the average life span of buzzards, but oddly enough, not that many ornithologists have devoted themselves to their study. The few who do, say that the bird is a highly intelligent and playful creature, capable of forming strong bonds with humans. One story I read happened in Virginia. It seems that a woman accustomed to walking daily up her local mountain, to view the birds in their native habitat, had stopped hiking because of a broken leg. After a few days the buzzards showed up on her backyard fence to see what was wrong, and continued to come every day till she was well. To amuse themselves they played with a large orange ball the children had left in the backyard. They are evidently also capable of communication over long distances, calling in other groups when they discover a windfall, like a dead cow. My local group spends so much time just perching up there, I’m sure they must communicate.

If any bird could hold a grudge it would have to be the buzzard, with that angry red face and yellow eye, but all my research indicates they might just love a practical joke. If they are sitting up there messing with our cell phones reception and snickering a bit maliciously under their breath, I wish someone could let them know that even though I married him, I am neither a meat eater nor a hunter. Meanwhile, I guess I better keep my landline paid up and quit calling Connie. I’m only using about 200 of my 1200 minutes per month now, and really can’t afford to save any more money. Besides, not wanting to sound paranoid, but I wonder if Connie has ever had a broken leg.

Read More