Bernice, the pigeon, is a regular visitor to my birdfeeder now. I know that most people would be horrified as they want to control who comes to their feeders. There are way too many who are disgusted at squirrels, mortified by sparrows, roll their eyes at grackles, and would shut the whole thing down at the thought of a pigeon eating at their exclusive diner. I don't understand these control freaks who proclaim to love "the birds". Me? I love Bernice. She is quirky and odd. She isn't lovely. She is waayyy too huge for the feeder. She doesn't sing nicely. The other birds don't like her. And best of all--she just doesn't fit in. That's what makes her all the more special.
She approaches slowly, tentatively, almost like she is used to being shunned. She flies in to the lines above head and watches the action for what seems like hours. She gets up her nerve and flies down to the shed, where she perches like a weather vane--proud and tall. She grooms. She strains her neck to see what is going on. And she gets ready for her big approach to the feeder. Once there, all the little guys scoot out of the way, as there isn't enough room for many other than Bernice--she is a large gal.
Bernice is a typical gray pigeon. If you look closely, she wears a ring of irridescient rainbow colored feathers around her neck that reflect the sunshine. She wears some funky orangey-red socks and her eyes mystically match her footwear. She is awkward, but endearing. She looks at me, crooked like, when I talk to her. She is getting used to us now, and doesn't fly away when we do our usual puttering around the yard. She even stayed with us through a whole dinner outside the other night--Disney's got nothing on us when it comes to dinner shows.
I'm not sure why Bernice likes us so much, as food is plentiful this time of year. Maybe she likes the welcome she gets here--"Hey! Bernice!" is often heard loudly. Henry chatters away from his window perch when she comes, and everyone stops to look at her when she sits on the shed. Em's friend, Caroline, thought she was great, but that doesn't surprise me, Caroline likes all the funny stuff we do.
Bernice is part of the family now. She made me laugh when we were down about Freddy. She watched from the telephone pole as we scooped her lifeless body out of the water. She stayed for the burial and kind of hung out for the rest of the evening. It was like she was home, with family. I was glad she was there.
Welcome, Bernice. Welcome to this weird, wacky conglomeration of frogs, fish, tadpoles, snails, cats, caterpillars, and god-knows-what-else that we call family.