Things with Wings

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Today I brunched at Cafe Roma with a friend from India. At the end of our brunch I noticed a Supersoaker sitting beside the register and jokingly asked the waitress if it were for unruly customers. She said that they used the water gun on seagulls who pestered diners outside. They had found that if they added vinegar to the water the seagulls detested the smell so much that after being sprayed once they wouldn’t return. I liked that as a solution.

Dilip then told me that he knew of a man who released pigeons at the Red Fort at Agra in India. Tourists would pay him to let the birds out of the cages and fly free. Yet, after the tourists left, the birds always came back and climbed straight into their cages again. It turned out that the man who was caging them had fed them drugs and they returned to him to feed their addiction.

Only a day or two earlier, Meli had told me about her time doing bat research in the deep south of New Zealand. They would net bats, count and tag them, and release them again. On one occasion, under a full moon, the bats were flying and the nets came back full. Bats were picked out and tagged and, at some point, from under the heap someone pulled out a tiny baby bat. It had fallen from its mother’s pouch in the moment of being netted and its chances seemed slim. Someone tucked the tiny bat into their jersey, against their chest, and everyone continued work. As they released bats into the night all the rest of the colony flew around the zoologists in a whirling circle. Finally, their work was done, and still the bats flew. All the zoologists but the one with the baby left the area under the circling bats, and the baby was removed from its haven, and held as high as possible on the palm of  the remaining zoologist’s hand. A moment later the mother swooped in and seized her infant on the wing. All the bats wheeled and left with her.

One Response to “Things with Wings”

  1. Giffy Says:

    I *love* the bat story.

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