Sunday, February 25 , 2018, 9:40 am | Fair 56º


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Captain’s Log: A Little Birdie Told Me

There is a very old saying commonly used when explaining why you know something that someone else didn’t intend for you to know.

It goes, “A little birdie told me.

Usually you know someone’s secret because of someone else blabbing when they were supposed to keep their mouth shut or because your powers of observation or deduction led you to a conclusion that someone hoped you would not reach.

I’ll leave that pregnant topic to someone who likes to write about people relationships. I like to write about critters, so I’m still back on the “A little birdie told me.”

I’m so accustomed to taking my input from critters that I sometimes don’t think much about how a critter tells me something — it is good enough to just know what the critter does tell me.

But those little birdies are exceptionally good at telling things or providing enough info to help you deduce something. 

For example, while sitting in my office writing, I tend to keep the window open, and I often hear the sudden drone of a hummingbird checking out a brightly flowered plant right outside of my window. It has been one of their favorites for years. 

I have other, darker-flowered plants just several feet away, but the quick little birds always go to the bright flowers.

Sadly, the drought has had an impact on the colorful flowered plant and I’m trying really hard to follow the water usage rules, so there are very few flowers on the hummingbirds' favorite plant. 

Well, a bird has to make a living, so they have switched over to the darker flowered plant, and though it is very difficult to see an expression on a hummingbird’s face, they don’t look happy about it.

I feel like the little birdies are telling me that the drought is having a drastic impact on them, and they don't like it.

Crows talk to me, too, telling me about the health of the land and small critters and the plants.

These black beauties like to hunt on the ground and eat a wide variety of tiny critters, seeds and other things.

With dry, parched lawns, we don’t have nearly as many worms or yard bugs as usual and our lawns and plants are not producing as many seeds and fruits or nuts as usual.

I’m watching what crows have in their beaks, and it is readily apparent that they are working far down on their prioritized list of favored foods, eating a lot of very hard tree seeds which are difficult to work with. 

Neighborhood birds like sparrows and others are having a tough time finding their feed when I watch them, and their change in behavior shows a worsening condition.

I know we should not use the last of our water to grow our lawns and gardens again, and I know that we are forecast to have a wet winter, but those little birdies have to get through the here and now and they are telling me about it.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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