• Dale Bowman

Stuffed birds: Ramble with the Lady

Downtown, there are bird cages encasing flowers as a decorative art form in the window of the insurance office.

They fascinate me. I find it creative in an everyday sort of way.

Morning to think about stuffed birds, about old bird cages.

A pair of ducks whistled off the south old clay pit as Lady, our family's mutt, and I circled this morning. By the sounds of it, they were wood ducks.

The only bird I have ever really wanted to mount is a nice drake wood duck. So far, I have not shot one worthy of being mounted.

(Just as an aside, I do have two bands from wood duck.)

For some reason, it took me to the only bird I ever had mounted, a nondescript merganser.

I downed it on a snap shot while hunting on fabled Snicarte Island on the lower Illinois River. After I found it, I had an ethical problem. I had zero desire to eat a fish-eating bird but also did not want to waste it.

So I had it mounted.

Grandma Bowman, one of my idols in life, kept one of her favorite parrots and had somebody stuff it.

I found a certain amount of incongruity in that. It did not fit with the rest of her no-nonsense approach to life.

This is a woman who pulled out her phone when phones started coming to rural areas. Her explanation was that people were just calling up to talk.

Sheez, that kinda sounds like social media today.

Of course, all this talk naturally took me to Monty Python and the ``Dead Parrot'' skit.

Ah, that skit still lives.

The usual this morning as we set off. Robins everywhere hopping around any grassy area. Mourning doves cooing on all sides. A couple cardinals called and staking out trees.

Four pairs of Canada geese swam on the north pit. So far, I have not seen any geese actually on the nest. It is getting late for that.

The one wild surprise this morning was a chipmunk hopping across the trail, formerly a side rail, above the south end of the south pit.

As we came out of the wilds around the town pond and back to town, more geese flew overhead toward the north pit.

Near home, three wood ducks came low over our house, flying toward the lake to the west of town.

That nicely wrapped up a theme for the morning ramble.

Of course, I could go with Robin Williams in ``The Birdcage.''

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