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Angry Birds and Other Stuff

Web posted on May 19, 2016

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

Spring has finally sprung, well sort of. It's still cooler than normal, and that snow on Sunday made it feel like early April. The birds, critters and varmints don't seem to care about the weather and are up to their usual spring activities. The songbirds are at it around 4 AM with the robins being the loudest. The seem to carry on conversations with their friends or potential mates across the street. It's amazing how something that small can put out so much volume for so long. Some mornings it would be nice to have a mute button for the birds, but then again their season is so short that we should just enjoy to wonderful music.

There is a family of crows (yes, I know that the collective noun for crows is a murder, congress and horde are also used, but I prefer to think of them as a family) that has been living in the neighbourhood for years. There used to be great wars for aerial supremacy between them and the gulls that came over from Guelph Lake. They now seem to have the gulls under control. Before the current bins, there would be major battles on garbage day over torn open garbage bags. The crows being much smarter always got the best of the gulls. Last week I heard a great fuss from the crows and when I looked I saw several of them attacking a small critter. I got my binoculars out and saw that they were attacking a rat (the first I have seen in Guelph). I know it's unusual to see a rat in daylight. The chase went on through several yards before I lost sight of them. I don't think it ended well for the rat. It gave a whole new meaning to the term angry birds. I now call my crows the Neighbourhood Watch. I have seen the crows swoop down on the occasional cat or squirrel, but never like this. If anyone out there is planning to do a remake of "The Birds" I would be quite happy to represent these crows. Of course, the crows do get hassled by the local grackles and starlings at nesting time.

Other than the squirrels, I have seen one raccoon and smelled several skunks, and there are always rabbit tracks in winter, so the rat did come as a bit of a surprise. Then again, I don't sit at the window waiting for the local fauna to show up. Friends in other parts of the city have seen deer and coyotes, but none at this end of town that I know of. I couple of years ago I saw a skunk walk through a garage sale without paying any attention to us humans. The people running the sale said that it came and went as it pleased and there had not been any close encounters of the stinky kind. They had even given it a name that I don't remember, but it wasn't Pepe.

On the domesticated side, the dogs for the most part seem to be better behaved than the owners who don't pick up after them. As for the few cats, they are seldom seen, but can be heard loud and clear when in heat.

The children in the sandbox at One Carden Street are still acting silly and have not figured out how to play nice. If they keep acting this way, some of them should be given a serious Time Out. Attempts at adult supervision by Mayor Guthrie don't always work. On one side we have the people who want to get things done and keep taxes at a reasonable level, they are in the minority. On the other side we have the people who want to tax us out of the city and are blocking any progress towards reality. These battle lines have been around for years, and one would think that by now they could figure out how to at least pretend to get along. The problem is that as long as we have low voter turnout this will keep happening. There are two groups of voters who always turn out to vote for their respective candidates. We saw their antics in the last election. This nonsense does turn many people off from voting, plus there are those who don't care what happens, until something is planned for their neighbourhood that they don't like. That kind of attitude is just not good enough. I voted so I can complain all I want. If you didn't vote, stop complaining. Something needs to be done to get more people to vote. Perhaps the time for online voting for municipal elections has come. I have some other ideas that I will discuss in a future column. It's the people who did not vote who are ultimately responsible for this mess. Once again to all of you who didn't vote: Thank You!

We are rather lucky to be living in a part of the world where we don't have volcanoes in the back yard, and daily earthquakes. We may see the occasional remnants of a tropical storm, but nothing devastating. We get the occasional tornado, but not like in parts of the U.S. We don't get the severe thunderstorms or blizzards that are prevalent on the plains and prairies. We don't get the severe droughts that can lead to forest or brush fires. It's rare to have major floods. When disasters hit other parts of the world or even Canada, we should be among the first to help in whatever way we can. Please make a contribution to help our friends in Fort McMurray if you haven`t already done so.

Welcome aboard Elizabeth. I look forward to reading your advice.

Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.

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