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Even the critters have a little spring fever

My wife and I were walking along 14th Street the other day when we both stopped to watch a “moving rope” cross the street heading north near Ives Avenue. It looked like a rope because the line was ramrod straight … and it was moving!
At its lead was a mother duck and 13 ducklings, marching quickly in unison.
They scooted across the street, up the curb and into John Shamla’s yard. In the process of getting up and over the curb, the last two ducklings had difficulty keeping up, got disoriented in the middle of the yard and bumped into each other as the “rope of ducks” disappeared into a bush. One honk from their mother and the lost ducklings quickly scampered out of the yard and into the bush, too.
Where’d they come from? Where were they going? There was no water around for blocks, yet there they were — a moving rope of feathers.
It was earlier that morning that I got into a foot race with a robin. It was on 10th Street near Pryor Avenue when a robin began hopping along the sidewalk inches from my feet. I expected it to fly off, but it did not. It simply jumped inches ahead of me for about 10 sidewalk sections before veering left and into the air.
I couldn’t catch up to that dang bird. It hopped faster than I could walk.
I didn’t think I was that slow, but I half expected to be passed by an old guy with a walker, too. That would have made my day.
It’s been that kind of a spring. We finally had to wash windows after numerous birds mashed themselves into the window panes. One morning a dove left an imprint, and a few feathers, before wobbling off. A finch dropped straight out of the sky and landed beak-first at my son’s feet the other day. It shook itself and then flew off.
Another flew straight into a neighbor’s siding when I came around the corner near my feeders. That had to hurt.
It must be something in the bird feed. Either the sunflower seeds are alcohol-laced or cannabis-flavored. The birds this spring have been acting funky.
And then there are the squirrels. They seem to be falling out of the sky, too. One landed on my flat roof recently, and just laid there, stunned. When I opened the door to get onto the roof, it jumped back to life and leaped off the roof.
I went to the edge of the roof to see where the squirrel carcass landed, and it was not there. Darn squirrel must have had nine lives!
While many wake to robins singing at 4 a.m., the music to start my day is the cacophony of little heads hitting the undercarriages of my son’s old car collection. As I round the corner of my house for my daily walk, I see the birds, squirrels and rabbits scatter from around my feeders. The ensuing thumps and clunks under the cars are the real sound of the morning around my neighborhood.
Do these critters ever get headaches?
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014, but still plans to submit an occasional column.