Angry Birds

Angry Birds

It sounds like the entire cast of Angry Birds is outside our window today. It sounds like that most days, actually. Seriously, between the Grey Loeries, the Hadedas and the Blacksmith Plovers, I sometimes think we’re going to see them line up and slingshot themselves into our house because they think we stole their eggs. (I suppose that would make us the giant, snorting pigs.)

The Grey Loeries are also known as Go-away Birds because their call, to some people, sounds like “Go away!” To us, it sounds like the noise Jenny’s sister, Jaimie, makes when she doesn’t want to do something. At various times of the day, a small group of them will roost in the trees out back and indiscriminately tell things to “Go away!” It’s pleasant. We hate them.

The Hadedas are just weird-lookin’. As members of the ibis family, they have those long legs and long, curved bills. Only slightly attractive in direct sunlight, the Hadedas also have iridescent, green-purple wings, but in general they’re pretty ugly. Their name comes from their loud, nasty call: haa-haa-haa-de-dah! Indie hates them.

The Blacksmith Plovers are, dare I say, another creature altogether. Their name comes from the shrill, super annoying call they make when approached by another animal – avian, biped, quadruped, it doesn’t matter. As soon as you get within 30 feet, they start making this “tink! tink! tink!” sound (like a blacksmith’s hammer on an anvil) that increases in amplitude and frequency the closer you move. There’s a pair of plovers that must have a nest somewhere near the field where we walk Indie in the mornings and they go crazy when they see us. If we walk too far in the “wrong” direction, they start dive-bombing us. I have to wave a plastic bag to keep them at bay. They hate us.

The entire Groenkloof Campus is full of wild (and sometimes, beautiful) birds. One of the prettier varieties is the Southern Masked Weaver (or African Masked Weaver), though it, too, has a helluvan ugly call. I’ve seen a couple flying around our front yard, though they never seem to sit still long enough for me to get a good shot. With my camera, I mean. They make these cool, round, hanging nests on the ends of tree branches. There are some good photos here.

One of several birds of paradise in our front yard

Oh, and while not fuming, feathered or flying, the other “birds” we see a lot on campus and around town are birds of paradise. We have several in our yard. Tropical!

By the way, don’t get confused and think that I’m suddenly some sort of bird expert, or even a bird watcher. The only “Ornithology” I know is a saxophone track. Which reminds me, I still remember the day I bought Charlie Parker at Storyville. I was on a break from college and was at the mall with some guy friends from home. At some point, we stopped cruising for chicks long enough to hit a music store, because that’s how you used to buy CDs. While they were looking for the latest rap or metal or hair band disc (maybe grunge by that point?), I was deep in the Jazz section deciding between Bird and Monk. My friends thought I was the strangest dude on the planet. They probably still think that.

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Posted on September 1, 2011, in Pretoria, South Africa and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hi Ryan, we can’t imagine that you’d ever hate anything…let alone an innocent, little helpless bird. Then again I remember the chorus of crows you and Jenny seemed to attract at Moratz. The phrase “rats of the air” was coined early in your bird watching years. We’re happy to know that your advanced knowledge of bird watching is serving you well in Petoria. Best, R&S

    • Ryan Kilpatrick

      Ha! Funny. I forgot about the birds at Moratz.

      You’re right, we don’t really hate them; it’s fun to experience all the new and different creatures here. But, they can be annoying sometimes…

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