Lame Adventure 291: Bird Brained

A few weeks ago, my buddy, Coco, complained to me about an owl cooing outside her apartment building in lower Manhattan.  Apparently, this bird’s late night/early morning warbling routine has been impairing her ability to get a restful night’s sleep.

Me:  I don’t think that’s an owl.  It’s probably a mourning dove.

Coco:  Whatever it is I wish it would shut the hell up.  It’s driving me crazy!

How I became such an authority on owls vs. mourning doves is that ten years ago I briefly dated a tree-hugger named Mindy.  Whenever I think of this lass I’m reminded of an orifice (not the ear canal).  Read on … She confided to me that she despised the corporate world so much she wanted to craft her own feminine hygiene products for personal use.  My usual witty repartee eluded me at that moment possibly because the vast majority of women I’ve dated have wanted to shoot films, write books, act in plays, etc.  Being in the presence of an aspiring tampon maker was a first (note: there has yet to be a second).  Our union ended with a thud during pillow talk when she revealed she’d rather see someone that works at the UN.

Me (wounded):  Oh.  So you’ve met someone that works at the UN?

Mindy:  No, but I’d like to.

During an earlier less spirit-deflating visit I complained to Mindy about what I thought was an owl cooing outside my window.

Me:  Do you hear that?

Mindy:  That’s a mourning dove.

Who knew?  Not me.

A decade later I’m at work, sitting at my desk, discussing a design project with my friend and colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore).  Eager to seize the reins on a new challenge, she suggests that she’ll make several mockups of this idea that we’ll present to our boss, Elsbeth.

Me:  Excellent!

Then, the neighborhood mourning dove flies onto our windowsill. Havoc ensues.  (not) Under Ling (anymore) knows that I have been obsessed with getting a good picture of this creature to share with Coco.  I have even suggested to my colleague:

Me:  For all we know this could be the actual bird that’s always waking Coco!

One of the many hats (not) Under Ling (anymore) wears is that she’s the company photographer.  She shoots pictures with this very intimidating digital Canon camera that is called something like the Behemoth.

Canon Behemoth.

It weighs about the same as the Liberty Bell.

We both spring into action.  (not) Under Ling (anymore) wielding the Behemoth, hops onto the counter as if her Converse sneaker soles have sprouted springs.  She patiently crouches at the window like a member of the paparazzi waiting to capture the perfect “gotcha!” shot of this critter.

"Gotcha!" shot of (not) Under Ling (anymore) perched at the window.

So close and yet so far "gotcha!" shot. "If only Elsbeth would have let me buy a zoom lens for this camera..."

Yet, our bird is fidgety.  It flies from sill to sill, and only perches momentarily.  I fire off a quick shot with my PowerShot.

Can birds get liver spots?

We follow it as best we can, narrowly avoiding colliding into each other when we are certain that it has moved onto the windowsill in Our Leader’s office.  Elsbeth is oblivious to the Two Stooges frantically scampering outside her office door.  After the bird disappears from our view we resume focusing our attention on our assignment.  Then, in an excited voice, (not) Under Ling (anymore) announces:

(not) Under Ling (anymore): The bird’s back!

My heart races.  She grabs the camera and is now perched at a window in the back of our office waiting to fire away.  I commend my friend for taking this interesting shot in white silhouette.

Cool shot!

(not) Under Ling (anymore) insists it reminds her more of this mythical (?) creature.

Loch Ness monster image from Wikipedia.

Later that evening, I email Coco a link to a 24 second video of a mourning dive cooing with the subject heading, “Does this sound like your owl?”

Coco’s response: Yes! Maybe my owl is really one of those bastards.

Maybe it’s even the one perched outside our window?

"This feels so good on the tail feathers, it makes me want to coo even louder!

7:32 am update email from Coco: That dick bird is still cooing…..argh!  It doesn’t quit!

10 responses to “Lame Adventure 291: Bird Brained

  1. I only have one word to say–earplugs. I may not be partnered to a tampon-maker, but I am with a woman who snores–loudly! Earplugs will silence the cooing. I promise!


  2. Here’s something interesting I found on a website about Mourning Doves:

    “Males have favorite “cooing perches” they defend from other males. Members of a pair preen each other with gentle nibbles around the neck as a pair-bonding ritual. Eventually, the pair will progress to grasping beaks and bobbing their heads up and down in unison.”

    Speaking of tampons (which you were), I wanted to have a Tampon Burning Party after my hysterectomy, but never got around to it. I wonder if Rick Santorum would want to make some law regulating that? He’s really into ladybizness lately…


    • (not) Under Ling (anymore) thinks that our mourning dove has parked himself under one of our air conditioners where he practices his cooing. Our AC’s have also been a popular location for pigeons to engage in year-round trysts, but now that spring is fast approaching they’re even hornier. One landed on my windowsill yesterday, looked at me and puffed out his chest. I thought, “This is a new first. I’m getting hit on by a pigeon.” I said, “Go away. I’m gay.”

      When the time comes I have bequeathed my unused tampons to my fertile friends. The used ones I’d like to send to Santorum; consider it a Lame Adventures-style campaign donation.


  3. As a hetero-type married guy, I get the willies even reading about ladybizness so I guess I don’t have much to add along those lines. On a Santorum (Sanitarium?) note he wants to outlaw hardcore porn. But he’s still gonna limit the size of government. Do you realize how many guys and gals who’ll be applying for those jobs? You know the jobs where you have to watch hours and hours of stuff to judge whether it is actually hardcore and not just softcore? Isn’t there some middle ground like semi-flaccid-core?

    On a more wholesome note I do have a family of sparrows who have nested behind a shutter next to our 2nd floor bedroom window here in bucolic Glen Ridge for the past 10 years. No way of telling whether it is the same family. They might be subletting. Not rent controlled out in the exurbs.

    Did enjoy the Canon Behemoth as well as the action shot of your faithful colleague (not) Under Ling (anymore).


    • “Semi-flaccid-core porn” — excellent, Mike! Love that one! But hey, leave my private life off Santorum’s latest addition to his troublesome anti-everyone and everything agenda.

      Your family of sparrows sound great to me. Wow, 10 years. I wonder what that translates to in bird-years? Possibly centuries.

      Glad you like (not) Under Ling (anymore)’s camera. Whenever I shoot a picture with it, the image seems to come out soft … or semi-flaccid.


  4. When my older daughter returns home next Thursday from her HS softball spring training down at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando (some life, huh?) I will ask her what to do about your picture taking. She’s an avid and educated photographer (at least as much as any kid who’s taken Photo 1 and Photo 2).


    • Wow, and I felt aunt-pride when my niece, Sweet Pea, appeared semi-shoeless with the dancers in her high school’s production of Gershwin’s Crazy for You three years ago! You must be very pleased with your offspring partaking in ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. That’s great, Mike! The problem with the Behemoth and me is a classic case of PEBCAP (Problem Exists Between Camera and Photographer). I hate that camera and it hates me. I much prefer my little Canon PowerShot (the camera I use for many of the pix on this site). We’ve been in a very satisfying relationship since my sister gifted me with it on Xmas 2010.


  5. Snoring Dog Studio

    They all look like pigeons to me. I love the sound of owls at night and don’t mind if they wake me up. However, the sound of a fox shrieking is quite disturbing, especially if you’ve never heard one before. And then there’s the sound of Boston Terriers snoring to beat the band. Sleeping is a difficult task to accomplish sometimes.


    • If I may doff my Audubon Society wizard cap, I’ve observed that the Gotham City mourning dove is a little smaller and brown in color than the regular NYC blue-gray pigeon forever strutting its stuff on any given sidewalk. The mourning dove’s lilting coo seems distinctive as opposed to the regular pigeon’s windowsill sitting or horndog (hornbird?) warble. I can’t explain it that well, but I know the difference when I hear it. It’s a far cry from my buddy Milton’s adored Sarah Vaughn rendition of April in Paris.


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