Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Opportunistic Feeders

            Embarrassing as it is to confess, I don’t wash my car as often as I should, especially since I frequently travel long distances in buggy areas.  We recently returned from a week long trek through insect-filled territory with predictable results.  Squashed bugs covered the front of the car.

            From my perspective, this just meant more work.  I needed to get out the scrub rags and the detergent and apply a little elbow grease.  From a couple of little birds’ perspectives, this was a traveling gourmet delight.  When I looked out the window the other day, I saw two sparrows working diligently at something around the front grill.  Upon closer inspection, these little opportunists were cleaning up on imported bugs. I had delivered a veritable feast to their doorstep.

            Lately the newspapers are full of articles of other examples of opportunistic feeders.    Several swimmers and surfers off a Florida beach recently discovered this the hard way.  As they were splashing and kicking, hungry sharks zeroed in on their movement and noise.  Since bait fish usually occupy those waters, the sharks apparently thought the splashing signaled dinner time.  I can imagine the surprise on the parts of both the swimmers and the sharks.  Neither expected that encounter.  Although a couple of the swimmers required surgery, no one died in that case of mistaken identity.

            Sharks are not the only creatures showing up for unexpected meal encounters.  We recently visited an area in Wyoming that suffered an early freeze and now is experiencing a drought.  As a result, bears, which usually hang out in berry patches and the like in the mountains, are showing up at Fido’s back door dog dish. 

One lady told me her sister left her back door open while she did some errands.  As she was carrying boxes from one area to another, her dog started barking frantically. Curious, she went in the dining area to see what inspired the noise.  A bear cub had wandered into her kitchen to check out his dining options.  Thank goodness she scared him out with a few wild gestures and screeches before his mom came looking for him.  In this particular community, officials had to destroy a grizzly and a black bear that could not resist wandering into town to look for food.

In southern Colorado, a bear wandered into a bottling plant and discovered the raspberry flavored ice tea vat.  The mental pictures going through my mind on that one lead to some possible ice tea commercials.  It reminds me of the old Coca Cola commercials with the big white polar bear.  I suppose this bear story is a case of life imitating art. 

Wild animals aren’t the only creatures to take advantage of a perfect opportunity.  I’ve never seen a dog miss a chance to clean up under a toddler’s seat at the table.  Any dog worth its keep knows where to find the good stuff.  I once saw a lab snatch the ice cream off a little girl’s ice cream cone when the tyke was waving her cone around and not paying attention.  Scolding a dog for doing what comes naturally is hard to do sometimes. 

On the note of letting a food thief off easily, it is getting close to the weekend and car wash time.  Can I justify another postponement with the excuse that I would deprive those sparrows of their gourmet goodies?

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