Recently, we got a bird feeder. We’re lucky I speak Bird!
Sparrow 1: This is just delicious! What do you call this stuff?
Sparrow 2: Free food.
Sparrow 1: Wait a sec. Is there food you have to pay for?
Sparrow 2: Humans do. They go to a big house filled with tables. They talk to another human, who keeps smiling even though there’s a vein throbbing in her temple, and then she brings them gobs of slop they eat with long, metallic fingers. And then they take the extra home in a doggie bag.
Blue Jay: Better than a kitty bag.
All: (General agreement.)
Sparrow 1: So they don’t have to dig up any worms? Someone just brings them a plateful?
Sparrow 2: Yep. Covered in thick, red blood, with a side of garlic bread.
Blue Jay: I once pecked a piece of garlic bread. Burped for a week.
Blue Jay’s Wife: Don’t remind me.
Blue Jay: What about that time you pecked a pickle?
Blue Jay’s Wife: For the thousandth time, I thought it was a dead frog!
Blue Jay: Minus all its limbs?
Sparrow 1: I remember that. We thought some French guy plucked off his dinner.
Sparrow 2: Guys? I’m trying to peck here.
Sparrow 1: Sorry.
Crow: Anyway, if we’re remembering great meals, wasn’t last year something? All those cicadas?
Sparrow 1: Maybe to you. To us, it felt like raining Volkswagens.
Sparrow 2: Where’d they all go?
Blue Jay: I heard Vegas.
Blue Jay’s Wife: I heard they died en masse after a frenzy of crazed copulating!
All: (Pause eating for a moment.)
Sparrow 1: I heard Vegas, too.
Crow: Well, anyway. What were we talking about? Oh, yes. The weather. Sure is hot. Humid, too .
Sparrow 1: After a big meal like this, I just want to fly back to a branch and sleep all afternoon.
Sparrow 2: It’s your turn to pick up bits of twine and twig.
Sparrow 1: Thank you, Mary Poppins.
Blue Jay: I’m flying back now, too. You coming, my picklepecking pet?
Blue Jay’s Wife: I just want to say “thank you” to the human who filled the feeder first.
Blue Jay’s Wife: I’m leaving her this!
Sparrow 1: Um. I’m not sure that humans understand the sentiment when we do that.
Sparrow 2: She seems to be wiping it off.
Blue Jay’s Wife: No, she’ll understand. I saw her taking notes on our whole conversation. ‘Bye, lady! And next time you’re at ShopRite, I like sunflower seeds the best.
Blue Jay: With pickles!
Blue Jay’s Wife (flying off ): You are just incorrigible.
Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker and author of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids.”