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Bird & Hound

Our 2-year-old hound dog, Lucy, didn't know what to think about the unusual little bird that landed on the back deck the other day. So she got up and trotted into the shop to find me. She was whining and a little excited.

Whining, the native language of the Treeing Walker Coonhound, can mean many things: "I missed second breakfast", "Stop petting me", "There's a mountain lion in that tree", "My chew is stuck under the cabinet", "I have slashed open my chest on barbwire", "It's Tuesday". Hound owners learn quickly to translate each of the various trills, whistles, and shuttering sighs emitted by their hound. Failure to do so can be catastrophic, especially on long road trips.

This time, her whining suggested something strange was afoot, something unfamiliar, a question unresolved.

The grounded stranger was this fat little guy, a male blue bird(?). He had decided to take a rest in our yard, some 5 feet from Lucy' bed. Migratory birds and whitewater rafters sweep through Idaho each spring, a phenomenon I became aware of in recent years. Our new house is shaded by a canopy of mature hardwood trees, which attracts all colors of birds. We've observed no rafters sleeping in the trees as of yet.

Anyway, the bird's beak looked much thicker than most of the blue birds we found photos of on the web. Lucy knows a lot about birds - certainly more than I do. I think that's what was bothering her. "Beak too thick".


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