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April 15, 2024

Birds of Ripon 06

By Bernie Pilarski

In California, and I imagine everywhere, we have car pool lanes. Or as we call them, HOV's, High Occupancy Vehicle lanes. "High Occupancy" is defined as more than one person per car -- two, if you must put a number on it. Two. Not some ethereal number like four, although that would fall under the definition of "more than one," but just simply two: one more than one. Yet incredibly, I watch every morning as most of the vehicles in the HOV lane are large, gas-guzzling trucks and SUV's whizzing by at 85 or 90 mph with one person inside. I say most. Large, ecologically disastrous vehicles going 25 to 30 mph over the limit operated by a person who cannot count correctly to one.

And these people get to vote for president of the United States. Gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling about the future. But enough of that. Today's bird is ...

The Black Phoebe

The Black Phoebe is a solitary, magical bird. About the size of a robin, the Phoebe is very dapper in his formal black and white. The Phoebe is a bug eater, which is very helpful, but his primary contribution is that of inerrant meteorologist. In the winter, the Phoebe will show up on the pool deck and watch the water for lunch to come sailing by. Then with a quick dash over the top of the water, he will gobble the tasty morsel.

Remarkably, when the Phoebe appears, rains follows within twenty-four hours. We've watched this occur even when the local weathermen were not calling for rain. I don't know where the Phoebe goes when there is no rain in the forecast. Perhaps he just goes back to the nest and eats pizza, or perhaps he holes up in the bunker with all the radar screens and analyzes jet stream patterns.

Article © Bernie Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2006-11-13
Image(s) © Bernie Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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