We put out leftover bread and tortilla chips, as well as bird seed--just pretty much anything grain-based--for the birds. It may not be the healthiest thing for them--the stale cookies, perhaps--but with a drought like this and as many birds as hang around, there's no way we could feed them all the bird seed they want. We'd be putting out a huge bag every day. It would require, like, a loan. Also a station wagon to go on Seed Buying Runs.
There's water for them in a plastic box. OK, it's a cat litter box, all right? But cleaned! In fact, I don't think it was ever actually used as a cat litter box. It just holds more water but is still shallow: they like to get in and splash around. So we use this:
for the food. Actually, mostly we use the top of the water meter cover, but food falls down inside, and horrible nasty bugs (aka water bugs, aka roaches--aieeeee!) get in there and creep me out.
There were a TON of birds eating here the other day, and then there wasn't a speck of food left. But what's this?
So I googled "dove food gravel," and I discovered that doves have to have small bits of gravel (or large grains of sand) with their food. It's stored in their gizzards and used to grind seeds with hard shells.
I don't want to know why it's in the place they eat coz if they're throwing up gravel while they're eating, that's just way, way too nasty. So I just go "Lalalalalalala" and don't think about it.
So anyway, I found out what I was looking for, and now I know the answer. But I was thinking about how I did it--how I googled the words for what I wanted to know, went right to it, read it, and went away--nothing at all like how I used to find out stuff, where you'd get the encyclopedia and look up the shorter entry on doves, and it would lead you to the longer entry, and while you could skip to the section about food, you would usually look at the photos and then read something else and maybe get hooked into finding out about nesting behavior. Like, for instance, did you know that mourning doves are monogamous and mate for at least a nesting season? Or that both parents feed the newly-hatched young with "crop milk," which is secreted from the walls of the crop, in the throat, just in front of the breast bone? I didn't know any of that, and I could well have missed it today.
What I'm thinking is that this is a problem for us in the 21st century, when everything has become so narrow and specialized. We have no Renaissance People any more. There's so much information available about everything that no one can know it all, and it's so easy to zoom in and find out only that information you need without having to read--or even skim--everything else. You google something, and it gives you results related to your location and what's closest and what you've googled before. Everything is distilled for you before you ever even see it. Think specialty magazines and newspapers and newsletters--you get stuff tailored to you, but even then there's way, way more than you can keep up with.
I think we've lost opportunities to mosey through books, to wander through new information and follow enticing trails of ideas and random facts, to spend time finding out more about something just because we didn't know anything at all about it when we started. We've become a species of specialists, but specialists in what? Celebrity--quick: name someone from a current tv show! Someone who released an album in 2011! (No, I can't do either one. Sorry.) Popular culture--what's hip and current. Politics, maybe--at least the politics with which we agree. Gossip. Advertisements.
But who knows other stuff? Who's learning stuff they didn't know before? I mean, if you have an amazing memory, you may know a ton of stuff from when you were in school. That doesn't count. Sure, you know stuff; but you're not finding out about *new* stuff, and that's what I'm talking about here.
I want us all to learn new-to-us stuff. Random stuff. Useful stuff. Entertaining stuff. Here's a good place to start. I always buy these books--I wait and buy them used when they're cheap, so I'm while I'm behind on Learning New Stuff, I do read all the essays and am often enticed to find out more, either online or by ordering another (used, cheap) book.
Let's talk about this. Are you curious? Do you research stuff that interests you? How? And what do you do with what you find out? Does it inspire you to learn more, or do something with what you've learned? And--here's something I'd love to hear about: what's the coolest/most interesting/most amazing thing you've learned recently? Tell us about it, please! I, for one, would LOVE to hear everyone's stories~~
Thanks for coming to visit~~XO