Of all the possible ways to categorize the humans and animals on this planet, perhaps one of the oldest is to classify them as either hunters or gatherers. In the microcosm that is my yard, there are examples of both.
I fall clearly into the gatherer category, happy to eat a can of this or a jar of that to avoid grocery shopping one more day. Kim (I'll count her because she's here almost every day) usually gathers, but sometimes she's willing to drive miles to hunt for whatever it is she craves.
Butch is a gatherer, too. He waits until I finish eating, then thoroughly sniffs the chair in which I sat and the floor all around it, vacuuming up any stray crumbs he manages to find. (Sometimes I drop crumbs on purpose, just to build his self-confidence.)
Kadi gathers to eat, but she hunts for sport -- lizards, mostly. When the back door is opened, she bursts out onto the patio and does a quick search of the patio furniture, the rain spout, the screens on the window and the door, and the cracks between the fence slats. She's done this for ten years now, but it was only last week that she caught her first lizard. She held it to the ground with her nose and watched its legs and tail wave frantically for about three seconds, then she lifted her head and let it go. Mission accomplished.
Lucy is another gatherer. She collects every single fig that falls to the ground and every one she can reach on the tree -- even the green ones. She likes to pack her mouth full of them, then flop on her belly in the grass or, better yet, bring them in the house to eat. (She's actually a little fig obsessed, if you want to know the truth. She asks to go outside at least once an hour and always heads straight for the fig tree.)
And, of course, there's this guy -- part hunter, part gatherer:
It's his hunting tendencies that worry me. Where there are hunters, there are also the hunted, and I'm beginning to feel like he's stalking us.
I turned into the driveway at lunchtime today and saw what appeared from a distance to be a pile of rags laid up against the front of my house, right next to the front door. As I grew closer, the pile of rags raised its head and looked at me. The peacock was lying on the carport floor, presumably waiting for someone to come along and feed him. I had to wait for him to get up and move before I could park my car. These are the fluffy underbelly feathers he left on the doormat:
I fed him his lunch before I fixed my own and thought that might be it for today. Nope. Just as the six o'clock news began, the neighbors' dogs started barking their distinctive "oh-no-not-that-bird-again" bark, so I looked out the front door and there he stood.
This time I picked up the camera when I went to get his trick-or-treat bag and managed to get one very short video:
I spent about ten minutes feeding my bright-blue buddy his evening meal, then stopped because something caught my eye and convinced me there's a downside to having a peacock for a friend. Here's a picture of the trunk lid of my car:
Those foreign objects laid out in a row from one side to the other? Yup! That's peacock poop. Lots of peacock poop.