Bewildering Stories

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For the Birds

by Ásgrímur Hartmannsson

The birds were out in the snow, pecking at breadcrumbs I had left out for them. Birds love breadcrumbs. I began to wonder if the birds wouldn’t love it even more if the crumbs were dipped in sherry. They seemed to need it out in the cold, the little things.

So I decided to give the birds some bread dipped in sherry. As it happens I had a bottle of Bristol Creame. It says on the bottle it has fino, amontillado and oloroso in it. So it must be good. Don’t know what it means, but it tastes okay. The birds will love it, I thought.

I cut down some bread into small dice, and dipped them in the sherry. Then I put the crumbs out, and went in to watch. Soon the birds arrived, and they loved it, as I had assumed. After they had finished, I gave them some more, because they loved it so much, and they finished that too.

The birds became slightly drunk from all the sherry, and there was a short time when they couldn’t take flight from drunkenness. They just hopped around erratically, sometimes falling on their side. The cat got one. The bird almost hopped right into the cat’s mouth. The cat probably liked the bird even more marinated in sherry.

Finally he birds sobered up enough to fly. It became very popular to try to fly into the house, through the window. I felt a little sorry for the poor things as they slammed into the glass trying to get in. Some flew directly into trees.

The following day I could see them shivering on the branches, still hung over from the day before. Maybe sherry was too much. I decided to give them some red wine instead. So, I dipped the crumbs in some Shiraz, and left them out for the birds.

Again, I let the birds finish two plates of wine-dipped crumbs. Again they became drunk, and hopped around in stupour. The cat waited patiently in one corner of the yard for a marinated bird to hop his way. Which one finally did. The cat seemed to enjoy his food very much.

And again the birds flew around erratically, sometimes colliding with trees and sometimes with my windows. And again they sat hung over in the trees the next day, shivering.

I did this for my own amusement for the next week, rendering the same basic results each time before I suddenly stopped. I didn’t want to turn the birds into alcoholics.

The first day after went well, and many birds flocked over to have my crumbs. News travels fast in the animal world. But this time it was just bread. It’s better for the birds that way.

But the next morning, as I was going out, I witnessed a strange thing: In my yard there waited about a hundred birds or more, just sitting there on the ground all lined up, staring at me, like they were expecting something. I looked back at them, wondering what could be the matter with them.

As I drove away in my car, the birds flew up and sat on the roof. Most of them were still there when I arrived at work. I wondered what they could want all day. They perched on the sill outside my window at work and looked at me the whole time, with begging eyes.

Then it dawned on me: It must be the wine they are after! They’re hooked! And not only the birds, but the cat too. He was waiting for me back home, surrounded by birds. Birds were literally sitting on him. Looks like he only wanted birds marinated in wine.

I decided enough was enough. Creatures in the wild, great and small are not built to consume wine, I thought. They needed help now, more help than I could give them. So I called in the AA. It is for their own good.

Copyright © 2003 by sgrímur Hartmannsson

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