One day, in my high school years, my mother came running into the house. Jumping up and down with excitement, she gathered the whole family around at the back door. In our neighbour’s tree sat a little grey bird pecking at the dozens of fruit around it. This was the object of my mother’s excitement.
You see, just a while before that day she accidentally let our ringneck out of the house. And with that one mistake, weeks and weeks of caring for a baby bird through a syringe, keeping it warm, letting it mess up your routine and actually getting to love it, flew away.. So she thought she could make up for it, by replacing it with the wild one sitting a few meters away.
Easier said than done. It took quite some time to come up with a plan of action. Eventually we decided on our modus operandi. It consisted mainly of some seeds on the grass with a cage over it, supported by a little stick which was attached to a piece of string. The piece of string was long enough so that somebody inside the house can take hold of the loose end. You are not far off if a Tom & Jerry trap just came into your mind.
Setting up the trap was the easy part. The hard part was sitting at the back door for the whole day. And let us be clear about one thing: if it was your turn to guard the trap, you were ordered to just sit there – no distractions – with your eyes fixed on the bird or the trap, while waiting and waiting and waiting… It got really boring after a while but there was no getting out of that one. My mother wanted the bird, so there was no valid excuse according to her.
I cannot even remember who caught it eventually. But the bird still lives to tell his tale. We love our ringneck to bits, but if my mother comes running into the house again, I’m sure my whole family will silently try to make their escape..