"You're a birdbrain, Katrianna!" Mikaela declared.
Katrianna spun around, gave her sister the eagle eye & replied, "Why, thank you!"
She then resumed her hour-long presentation on the intellectual superiority of the Corvidae family -- crows, magpies & jays. Quite obviously, she's raven mad (or is that crazy as a loon? Despite her seminars, I'm still not very ornitho-logical).
In the early mornings, Katrianna can often be found at a window, bird book in hand, pressing a button to serenade some passing songbird. The befuddled birds sit just outside the windowsill, heads pivoting this way and that to locate their new potential mate or - since we don't truly know what she's saying with these recorded messages - possibly their territorial rival.
Actually, most of the time, she prefers to talk to them herself, sans technological devices. She croons out the window repeatedly and then some crow will show up. They carry on and pass pleasantries, no doubt discussing the weather and/or preferred flight patterns.
Originally, of course, Katrianna didn't know how to cry fowl. Her multilingual efforts began one day when she and I were sitting in the car waiting for Chris & Mikaela who had gone into a ranger station to ask about - what else? - directions to find pairs of nesting raptors in the area. We were near a field, but there was no activity or movement indicating any "life." It was hot, dull, quiet, nothing to do, lethargy. Without warning, Katrianna bursts out at the top of her lungs with "Quack, quack, QUUUUUAAACKKK!" Before she can answer my "What in the world?" what do we hear - yep, a mallard duck calls back from out of nowhere, sounding like it's right beside the car. Katrianna answers, duck responds... I sank further down into the driver's seat, a lame duck.
More recently, when she was replaying and memorizing the calls in her book, a raven appears - but, this time, Chris was there. He gets so excited, he can't even wait a decent, conversationally-polite interval for the bird to finish its call before he jostles her aside to push the button. He then keeps interrupting Katrianna's poor pal, who gets so frustrated and, quite sensibly, offended that he flies off in disgust. Undaunted, Chris grabs the book and runs to every open window to beckon his fine-feathered friends, madly pushing that call button incessantly and indiscriminately.
Eventually, bereft of her book, Katrianna loses interest and wanders off to find something else she can play with by herself. For the next ten minutes, her father continues unabated & oblivious. I suggest to him that it was originally sweet, even cute, to see him humoring Katrianna and bonding with his young daughter over bird calls, but that perhaps now he should get back to work and not exhaust the battery on her prized book any longer. Sullenly, he agrees.
Not 15 minutes later, I go upstairs to find him alone, back at the window, swiftly riffling through the bird descriptions and scanning the skies as he presses the now nearly muted - but still birdly audible - call buttons. We concur that Katrianna's book should probably be reserved for her and he should only "borrow" it when she knows about it, is present and is also participating. Got it, good thinking! OK, everyone gets back to school/work. Diligence and duty prevail.
Yet, less than thirty minutes pass before I hear in hushed tones, "Psst, hey, psst... Katrianna, c'mere!" Katrianna gets up from what she's doing and follows her summons (with me not far behind). We find Chris, again clutching the bird book, motioning with his hand and whispering with all his persuasive, enthusiastic might, "C'mon, let's see if we can get them to answer. Aww, c'mon, it'll be - - Oh, hi, Cat!... Katrianna just wanted to call some birds here..."
In the meantime, Mikaela had read the book's introduction which warns against using the recordings in just this way, at least if the birds are endangered species. She begins lecturing her dad against "the evils of harming innocent endangered animals for sport!" Finally, facing his older daughter's threats to report him to the Audubon Society and/or Greenpeace, his younger daughter's sudden & inexplicable disinterest in birding, and his wife's ruffled feathers, for the third time Chris acquiesces. Reluctantly, he returns to his pressing, due-yesterday work project.
Ohhh, imagine the chaos and loss of productivity if we only had a birdbath!
On a lark, we made the birds as an art project when the girls were 5 & 8 years old and we were studying everything birdy for Science. It was very easy & fun. A light clay, such as Model Magic, works well, then acrylic paint & gardening or floral wire for legs. There is a lot of room for error & they still come out looking pretty life-like. We use them every year as Christmas and Easter tree ornaments.