I'm Learning a lot About Nature

Summer is here, and with it is my gestational diabetes. Because of this fresh hell where my body—once my ally—no longer allows me to live a comfortable and happy life, I must constantly be moving my round self all around this godforsaken earth. It's okay. It's not so bad. It just feels a little unfair when you were dieting and exercising your whole pregnancy and had beautiful blood sugar but none of that ever even mattered because it's a hormonal condition influenced by genetics and you were doomed from the start!!!

Anyway, going on walks has taught me a surprising amount about nature, something I mostly learn about from Animal Planet due to how much time I spend inside and not experiencing it. Most of this is about birds. 

Zoo birds are among us

Here! In Illinois! I've seen a lot of birds like this,  and they do have proper names, but I like to call them "zoo birds." Have you ever seen a bird like this in the wild? I feel like I have not.

Mostly, they ignore you. If you clap and chant zoo bird, they might get up and fly a couple of feet further while regarding you with heavy skepticism. When they try to get something from the pond, they bend their heads back so far and then STRIKE. In our neighborhood, there's a tree that the zoo birds like to hang out in, and my husband calls it "Zoo Bird Manor."

This is what a red-winged blackbird looks like


Pretty cool, huh! I know the name of one bird because Megan told me!

The small ponds around my neighborhood smell like shit for a reason

Are you ever enjoying a lovely walk with your friends when suddenly the smell of rotten shit knocks you over? Ah, man-made pond water! It turns out that ponds that aren't aerated will start smelling terrible because the slow-moving anaerobic bacteria that digests the decaying muck on the bottom produces waste which then rises to the surface of the pond and smells... so goddamn horrible. 

An interesting but possibly important fact: the pond by my very dinky "townhouse" (glorified condo) does not smell, but all of the ones by the big houses do. Hmm!!! A socioeconomic quandary!

I am scared of geese

I didn't know this about myself before. I start talking really fast when a goose is nearby, as if maybe they're going to hear something they don't like and decide to have a word with me. There is a family of geese in the office park where I work, and every time I see them, I stand a little straighter and then get a respectable distance between us. Haha! No problems here, Mr. and Mrs. Goose!!!! Also, teen geese are so cute, but I will not be trying to get a closer look at those fuzzy babies because I'm 100% certain their parents will swiftly overpower and eliminate me.

Fecal sacs are gross but sort of like a dirty diaper disposal

Full disclaimer: this is not a story from a walk. My husband witnessed something happening in the nest of robins outside of his office, and he asked me to Google it. (It was too much for him.) I learned from searching some disturbing terms that baby birds produce fecal sacs when they poop, and their mothers pull them out of their butt and fly them away from the nest. This keeps the nest both clean and smelling less like a baby bird that a predator could find and eat. 

BONUS FACT: Baby birds chirping when they're still very young kind of sounds like shoes squeaking.

Hale GoetzComment