How about a dog bird? June 24, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in critters, pets, wit and wisdom.
Tags: bird dogs, German shepherds, golden retrievers, robins, Shiloh
Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I have had two beautiful, wonderful golden retrievers, Molly and Annie. Golden retrievers are what are called bird dogs: When they see a bird, they stop, lift up a front leg, and “point” in the bird’s direction. They also have what is called a “soft mouth,” so they can retrieve a duck or other game bird after it’s been shot without biting into it. Labrador retrievers and spaniels are also bird dogs.
These days, OFB and I have the pleasure of living with our beloved black German shepherd, Shiloh, whose herding instincts are superb but whose hunting instincts are nil. Squirrels send most dogs we know nuts, chasing them and barking endlessly in frustration, long after the squirrels have gained the safety of the trees. Shiloh just watches them (in silence, thank God). Baby raccoons waddle in front of her; she looks like she’s trying to figure out the best way to herd them—if only she weren’t on this wretched leash!—so she could keep them safely under guard.
Yesterday, I was taking Shiloh outside for a bathroom break when we had a new (and very endearing) experience. We were in the backyard, bound for the circle of trees, known as the Circle of Doom, that’s Shiloh’s outdoor bathroom area. I saw that two robins were blocking our path. One flew out of the way as it saw us approaching. The other held its ground.
I realized that I wasn’t looking at two adult robins, but at a parent and its just-fledged offspring, whom it was teaching to cope with life outside the nest. It was this toddler robin, probably on its very first flight, that was still in our path. I brought myself and Shiloh to a full stop to give the little robin time to run or fly away.
But it didn’t. It looked at us with the most extreme interest, and then began making a beeline right for us, running over the lawn on unsteady legs. All the while, its distressed parent hovered nearby, calling what no doubt translated as “What are you doing? Get back here!!! That dog is going to swallow you in one bite! And what about that scary person? Come back! COME BAAAACK!!!” Naturally, the young robin completely ignored its parent’s frantic cries.
Shiloh and I watched this phenomenon with quiet fascination. As it became clear that the little bird really was going to run right into us unless I took action, I took Shiloh back to the house, not because I thought she would hurt the robin, but because I was concerned about causing further distress to its parent. When we came back out later, both robins were gone.
I guess we’d had our first encounter with a dog bird.
‘Til next time,