Sunday, April 15, 2012

Unwelcome Houseguests

Most birds flutter away at the first approach of a human. Even the pigeons of Manhattan's Central Park scatter to avoid walkers, joggers, and dogs. The birds of Sydney, I've discovered, are confident birds; they aren't fazed by humans and do what they want.

When we first arrived in Sydney, our initial abode was an apartment in Elizabeth Bay overlooking the harbor. I was at the table doing work when a bird ducked under the partially open kitchen window, strutted along the counter, took a grape in its mouth, flicked me off (well, he would have if he had fingers), and then strutted back out . Later he came back and hopped into the sink for a drink. It was only a matter of time before he stole food out of my hand, I thought.

A few Saturdays ago, Sharon and I went to the Picasso exhibit at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. After the exhibit we went to the museum's café for a snack and I grabbed a small table outside.

The patio was full of Lorikeets, which are beautiful green parrots with splashes of red, orange, yellow, blue, and purple about the height of a water bottle. They fluttered from the underside of one table umbrella to another. The bolder ones perched on chairs or hopped on tables to snatch food. One actually balanced on the edge of a woman's glass. At one point I saw a bird literally sitting on a girl's head.
Lorikeet. Cute and cuddly? Maybe. Bad house guests? Definitely.

Unfortunately, it seems, our new place in Bondi is not safe from the boldness of these winged critters.

Sharon and I have been leaving the very large sliding door to the balcony open pretty much all the time since moving in January. I've got a large wooden duck that sits on the side table nearest to this door. Sharon pointed out a small white spot next to it and said she thought it was bird poop. I thought the odds of a bird having the nerve to come indoors or the sense of irony to poop next to a fake bird were unlikely and figured it was dried yogurt or something.

A few days later Sharon pointed out additional white splotches on the carpet and in our kitchen. It was undeniable: birds were coming inside while we were asleep or at work and making themselves at home, which included christening the floor. We now keep the door closed when we're not around and I don't find Lorikeets quite so cute.

Sharon's recently started a love affair with a Kookaburra that she saw sitting on our balcony. Every morning she wakes up and checks it he's there. But it's only a matter of time before he overstays his welcome.