Thursday, May 15, 2014

Critter Crisis Around the Globe

Ok, my last two posts have been on a very serious note. I want to lighten things up a bit. We can all use an adventure, can't we?

There is never a loss of adventures on the foreign field. The fields may look a little different, and the adventures come in all shapes and sizes, but there are adventures to be had in every corner of the globe. (Why do we say that? Isn't the Earth round and without corners? Anyway...)

One of the adventures that seem to lurk in the shadows of every field are the critter adventures.

(Golfing with monkeys can get a little... interesting.)

Critter: (noun) Something that has more legs, more wings, more fur, or more scales than humans. Also see: slither, scamper, crawl, claw, and fang.

Here in Southern Asia, we live in the city. Though it is a third word country city, I have a lot to be thankful for. I haven't had to deal with some of the critters my friends have. I don't have to watch where I step barefooted to avoid scorpions. There is a stray snake on occasion, but it isn't big enough to wrap around my body and suffocate me, nor do I have to worry about the snakes sending me to a painful death two minutes after biting me. They are usually your average garden snake or rat snake. Don't get me wrong. I do not like snakes of any kind, but if I have to choose, I will take a snake that eats a rat over the black mamba any day! (There are vipers in the village areas, but we will cross that bridge if and when God brings us to it.)

Speaking of rats, yes, we have tons of those. They are big, fat, and juicy, and can sure leave a mess in cabinets! But even those rats are not a big problem since we have our professional rat-killing dogs.

We have the occasional spider, but nothing to write home about. Jason has seen one as big as his hand. Glad I wasn't there for that one. Cockroaches are pretty gigantic here, but we have been able to keep them at bay with sprays.

But the one thing we haven't been able to solve... we have a bird problem. I know. You are thinking, "Birds? What problem could they be?" Don't let their cute, feathered face fool you. That's part of their strategy. They sneak into your heart by looking so cute, and then that's when they attack. (Maybe I am being a little melodramatic.)

Let me introduce you to our two criminals... ahem... I mean, birds.

The first suspect: The cuckoo bird. Now, if all you have ever heard is a cuckoo clock, you do not understand the sinister nature of this winged villain. In your mind, you are picturing this:

Cuckoo... cuckoo... cuckoo

Isn't that sweet? So charming! Apparently, the time is now three o'clock. And just like your average cuckoo clock, once it tells you the time, it stops singing.

Let me take the blinders off of your innocent eyes, and show you the real cuckoo bird. He sounds more like this:

Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo...

Three hours later...

Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo... Cuckoo...

Not quite as charming, eh?

But in all honesty, after a while you either pull your hair out, or you learn to tune him out.

Now, let me introduce you to our next avian enemy. Before I show you the bird, I will describe his crimes. (I don't want your judgment to be influenced by his cuteness.)

Last year, we heard him for the first time. At 1 AM. Yes, he is nocturnal. That wouldn't be a strike against him except for the fact that he isn't very considerate of those of us who are not nocturnal.

And he is loud. Really loud.

When we first heard this sound, it jolted us awake. Yes, he is THAT loud. He doesn't sing his screechy song every night, maybe every other night. And he certainly doesn't sing for very long either. However, once you are startled out of a deep sleep, your heart is pounding too hard to get back to sleep quickly.

The first time we heard him, we pictured him being at least 2 to 3 feet tall. To make that loud of a noise, a bird would have to be massive! We have yet to actually see him because, as I said, he is nocturnal.

When we heard him that first time, we jumped up to catch a glimpse... and he was GONE.

One night, I heard him and jumped up. I looked out into the shadows. I saw him! He was HUGE! I even posted about how big he was on Facebook... only to discover the next day that I had not seen the bird.  I had instead seen the shadow of something the neighbors hung on the fence. Another time I heard him in the early morning. I ran to the window with my camera and took a picture of the only bird I saw. It ended up being a type of crow... not the phantom bird. (Sigh. I make a terrible detective.)

(This deviant bird is sly, hiding in the shadows. He has definitely EARNED the title of Phantom Bird.)

A breakthrough in our investigation...

A not-so-anonymous tip came in. Friends of ours were eating dinner on their rooftop patio. They saw a bird they had not seen before. Obviously, he looked like he was up to no good. Definitely the criminal type. So they did a background check... a.k.a. They looked him up in their bird watching book and researched him on the internet. Then they reported him to me. He matched the description of the perpetrator perfectly.

Who is this nighttime nemesis?

Meet the Billy the Kid of the dark... the spotted owlet.

Don't let that face fool you. He is 8 inches of pure terror, striking fear in the heart of... well... anyone who wants a good night's sleep. Yes, I said 8 inches.

And his sound? First, turn your sound on your computer way up. I mean... WAY up!

Click here for the sound...

Still think he sounds cute? That means you don't have the volume loud enough. Turn it up. Now, still think he sounds lovely? Set that sound to go off at 3 AM. Your perception of pretty will be changed by the time on your clock.

His latest crime? (I have been keeping a rap sheet on him. His rap sheet is longer than my pillow.)

May 8, 2014
Blah... Phantom bird (spotted owlet) strikes again...

Lying in bed... Drifting slowly off into a deep, restful sleep...
Breathing slows to a rhythmic gentle pace...
Body melts into the mattress and pillow...
The perfect, comfortable position...
Beautiful images begin dancing in my mind as I...


Heart thumping so loud the neighbors can hear it. I jolt awake. My brain is in a fog. Where am I? What is that noise? An alarm? A siren? Is there an emergency? Should I panic??!!!


Brain fog clears. Stupid bird perched outside my open bedroom window just calling out to me to remind me he is nocturnal... And I am not. And with that playful taunt, off he flies, leaving me here... Heart still pounding... And wide awake at midnight.

Instead of counting sheep, I will be counting imaginary feathers being plucked one by one from a certain bird...


This criminal must be stopped. Who's with me?
Stop laughing.

Well, maybe these other critter encounters will be taken more seriously. Enjoy!

Arye Family- Romania

Bauer Family- Australia

Bauer Family- Australia

Bauer Family- Australia

Bauer Family- Australia

Bauer Family- Australia

Bauer Family- Australia

Keren Burdick- Honduras

Hammett Family- South Africa

Hammett Family- South Africa

Hernandez Family- Amazon Basin

Hernandez Family- Amazon Basin

Jacobo Family- Honduras

Wesley Family- Jamaica

Wesley Family- Jamaica

Jarvis Family- Honduras (used by permission) 

Wesley Family- Jamaica

Wesley Family- Jamaica

Snoddy Family- Cape Verde

Snoddy Family- Cape Verde

Snoddy Family- Cape Verde

Snoddy Family- Cape Verde

Todd Family- Costa Rica

Knickerbocker Family- Asia

Post by Charity, Southern Asia


Joyful said...

Interesting photo. I can't quite tell what the dog is investigating. Is it a big toad or some kind of crustacean? Dogs so love to explore!

Charity said...

It was a toad... Unfortunately, it was poisonous. Our German Shepherd actually caught it to keep it away from the Spitz. He had diarrhea the next day. Poor fella!