Monday, December 31, 2007

Bird Roping: A Tale from the Franch

**Let me preface this one by saying that we wouldn’t do this again and do not encourage this type of ridiculousness**

Back in the day, we would ride around shooting varmints and chasing coyotes and such. Really, there’s not much else available for entertainment. Our mode of transportation on these outings was usually the four-wheelers. Every now and then when we were out riding around, Jeff would try to pick off a starling from the trees at the edge of the pond. (Starlings are common black birds in Colorado) These starlings were pretty quick, and it became something of a challenge to try and get one. There was a slope leading up to the edge of the pond where we would creep up on them. As usual, when we crept up the hill and came over the edge they immediately took flight. Jeff stood up, raised his gun and fired. A bird fell from the sky…finally…he had hit what he was aiming for. The bird fell…into the middle of the pond. We were peering out at it and realized that although it was flying with the starlings, it wasn’t one of them. We immediately started to worry, as the property backing up to the farm was classified as an endangered bird refuge. We also worried due to the previous bullfrog incident. We knew we had to get the bird out of the pond. The only problem was that it was too cold to swim out. The wind wasn’t blowing strong enough to bring it to shore. We were going to have to take matters into our own hands. After looking around, we found that the lariat used in the tragic frozen steer incident was still lying on the ground. We took that and tried to throw the loop close enough to the bird to nudge it to shore. When that didn’t work, we slipped a branch through the end and threw that out there. We somehow managed to wrangle said bird to the shore where we examined it. It was definitely not your average bird. It was beautiful, with dark blue feathers and black and lime green webbed feet. Needless to say, we felt very bad. But we also knew the three S’s important to rural life: Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up. For some odd reason, we disregarded the shovel part and took it over to Jeff’s uncle’s house instead. They weren’t home and we left it for his cats. Before you decide that we are too cruel and heartless, remember that cats naturally eat birds. We felt really bad for mistakenly shooting it but figured that it might as well not go to waste. The next day Jeff’s Aunt told me that the cats had killed a woodpecker and dragged it home. I don’t remember if we ever told them what really happened. I do know that we quit shooting at starlings after that.

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