Monthly Archives: November 2011

They’re Back! And With A Vengeance

Over the past few months, I have been congratulating myself about my highly effective bird-proofing of the nursery at the farm.  Back in February I launched a major assault.  They won the first round of battle, but I declared decisive victory in the second.

All through the winter I’ve been perfecting my defences, even going so far as to install swivel-mounted raptor cutouts to convince any birds who might be looking for lodging that the neighborhood was decidedly unsafe.

Everything was going well and as spring came and it came time for birds to start building nests, I kept a watchful eye for any unauthorized settlement activity.  It was quiet.  Too quiet.

Then last week happened.

It was like they had been waiting for the right moment.  We hadn’t been up to the farm for about a week and on arriving were greeted with evidence that the birds were busy.  That thing that looks like a turd on top of the light is the makings of a nest.

Right in front of an owl-like wind chime and a fearsome black predator!  Clearly, the birds had gotten toughened up over the winter.  Fortunately, the nest was in the early stages and once human traffic started up, they abandoned the site and went elsewhere.

But it wasn’t until I went inside the nursery that I started to get really worried about whether I’d been underestimating the power (and malevolence) of the bird mentality.

I had previously found the spots through which they were gaining access to the nesting sites (basically, every crack and crevice), and using a variety of methods, I had blocked them off.  Some I covered with pieces of wood, some I put wire mesh over and some I used spray foam insulation (one of the most diabolical inventions in history).  Those main defense works were guarded by a network of raptor cut outs and old CDs.

As best I can piece together what must have happened is that the birds decided to test the defences and when they held, they decided to show their displeasure.

The first clue that something was amiss was a lot of flaky stuff on the floor.  Closer inspection revealed it to be pieces of insulation that they had tried to peck out.  Fortunately it held, but I was fairly alarming to think that they would actually show such aggressive behaviour.

My theory is that having failed to penetrate the insulation and other barriers, they tried carpet bombing, whether because they thought it would help them get access or, more likely, they wanted to express their extreme displeasure.

I’m limiting the number of pictures, because you get the idea.  But they did that everywhere.  How am I not supposed to assume they weren’t just being vindictive?

They even pooped on the raptor!

Needless to say, I have new respect for the foe.

Pre-mission Briefing??


Last night I experienced another interesting example of synchronicity.  The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra presented Metropolis, a silent film.  The orchestra played the sound track (really good) while the movie  was shown on a big screen.  The movie was an amazing experience—fascinating and thought provoking.

Metropolis was made in Germany in 1927 by Fritz Lang and is supposed to be about the dehumanizing effects of capitalism.  We’d bought tickets for the show back in January, little knowing how timely the subject would become.

Before I get to the synchronicity,  first let me tell you a little about the movie.

It is very strange in  that silent movie way.  The Metropolis is this giant art deco city built by a mega industrialist.  He and the “Managers” live fantastically comfortable  and privileged lives as do their sons. (They don’t seem to have any daughters.)

The workers, on the other hand, live and work in “The Depths” and they are portrayed as broken automatons mindlessly operating bizarre and complicated machines and responding only to the giant steam whistle which marks the beginning and the end of their ten hour shifts.

The big boss’s son starts wondering about why he has it so good when the workers exist only to make money for the Managers, and he sets about to do something about it.  The film then embarks on a series of wild art deco science fiction daring rescue mob violence scenes and, to make long story short, all’s well that ends well.

What made the experience particularly interesting is that the Occupy Auckland protest (a New Zealand version of Occupy Wall Street) was going on right outside the Town Hall where the concert was held.

My wife and I had arrived early and decided to have a walk around the tent city.

Compared to other major orchestras, the NZSO has a wonderfully relaxed dress code to encourage a wider audience.   Nevertheless, I felt a little conspicuous wandering around talking to the people and taking pictures.  Unfortunately I was taking pics with my new mobile phone which I can’t understand (another story altogether) so some of the best pictures came out blurry or non-existent.  But you get the idea:

The sign above says:  “It is well enough that people do not understand our banking and monetary system, for it they did I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow” –Henry Ford.

The tent city is right next to the Auckland Town Hall where the Orchestra plays.

Everyone we met was friendly and interesting and welcoming, especially the security guy at the entrance with whom we spent a bit of time chatting and he even posed for a special photo for us while doing a little guitar haka:

And I got a bracelet to show my solidarity:

Walking around the tent city and interacting with the people there was valuable and it was a great way to lead into watching Metropolis. 

The theme of the movie, and the means to the reconciliation between the workers and management is the recognition that everyone should be working
for the same side and is interdependent.  The head (management) needs a mediator with the hands (the workers) and the best mediator between the head and the hands is the heart.

It isn’t such a bad idea in the real world as well. Perhaps a little less of me and a bit more of us is the answer.