Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Mad Dogs and Englishmen, maybe Tourists, but not the performing Birds

I mentioned earlier a visit to the Great Yorkshire Show, which I have attended in several of the past years, as I have occasion to be spending time around Leeds for several days most years in July. One of my favourite features of the show each year is the birds of prey exhibit.
Essentially, an entertainer (who is pretty bird savvy) shows off the flying skills of a collection of his owls, eagles, hawks, falcons, and vultures.
The highlight of the mid-afternoon bird show on the day I attended - and recall that this was a very warm (hot!) day - was a strike by the owl, who was expected to fly rather more than walk, but confined his activities to hopping about on the grass, and flying up and down to a rather modest perch, steadfastly refusing to fly to any point above six feet off the ground. As the bird failed to follow orders, it squawked back merrily at its trainer, the entertainer, who integrated this beautifully into his act. At one point, the owl squawked while looking straight up into the sky, and the patter was something like "You see, he's telling me, look up, can you not see there are no birds up there, it is too darned hot."
And when I looked up, I realized it was true - there were, unusually, no birds up there.
Now I do not know a lot about bird energy economics, but I would guess that owl was making a very sensible point.


Post a Comment

<< Home