I’m not sure when I started talking to birds. I don’t mean caged parrots or mynahs, but wild birds sitting on fence posts or power lines. The fact that I do this doesn’t really worry me. If they start talking back, I might start worrying. Yes, we have all talked to our dogs or cats. I’m not sure about people who own turtles or snakes, but I bet they even they say something now and then. This was brought to mind by a newspaper comic strip I read recently. The woman is sitting on the couch, talking to her cat. The man walks out of the room, his faithful dog at his heels, and proceeds to tell the dog, with great disdain, how silly it is for her to talk to a cat who doesn’t understand a word she is saying. The dog just looks at him with that look dogs give people who talk to them. Is there anyone who has not wondered what a dog thinks about what you say to it? Or what dogs and cats really think about us? OK, that doesn’t apply to cats … we know they would ignore us completely if they could operate can openers. Myself, I’ve always wondered what birds think of us. They obviously see us, and accept us as part of their environment. Our activities don’t seem to alarm them. And they interact with us constantly. They use our structures to shelter their nests. They use the birdbaths and feeders we provide. I know they watch us, because filling a feeder can draw hungry birds within minutes. I swear that I have had wild birds come to the window to demand that I refill an empty feeder. I once had a bird tap on the window, retreat to a nearby branch when I emerged with the feed can, and by the time I got back in the house it was eating. So I always wonder what that mockingbird sitting on the power line and singing its heart out thinks when I walk out and speak to it. Maybe it stops singing a song that says all you other birds keep away, this is my territory, to something like, that creature that lives inside the cave is making noises again, any idea what it means? Once at our house in Garcon Point I heard an incredibly loud, very beautiful bird song being sung above our vegetable garden, so loud it could have been amplified. I went out and located a towhee about 20 feet up in a tree, the source of the song. I stood there for the duration of the melody, and applauded when it was over. The bird didn’t seem to notice, but maybe it was just being modest. Years ago I saw a Far Side cartoon in which a scientist heralds his great invention, a translating device that will finally decipher dog barks. The big moment comes, and as the dog cries bark, bark, bark!, he puts on the headphones, switches on the device, and it turns out that the dog is saying hey, hey, hey! Well, maybe to the birds I’m just a barking dog. I suspect they wouldn’t really miss us if we were gone, and would soon forget us altogether.