Macaw musings

Re: ‘Better protection for whales, water’ (a letter to the editor in the Nov. 3 edition of The NEWS)

Re: ‘Better protection for whales, water’ (a letter to the editor in the Nov. 3 edition of The NEWS).

There was an unmistakable cackling laugh that was followed by an ear-piercing shriek, then a bumping sound. Having lived the last 16 years with a Hahn’s Macaw called Chico, since he adopted us as his parents/guardians when he was only six-weeks-old, my wife and I have become used to these raucous occurrences.

Following the noise, I found him lying on his back on the bottom of his cage vigorously kicking his feet up in the air. Being the smallest of the macaw species, he’s a very intelligent, talkative and politically incorrect little green guy who is convinced he’s human, and explained that he was laughing so hard at Bowser Bob’s letter that he fell off his perch.

When I asked for details, he motioned to the Nov. 3 issue of The NEWS, which had been put in the bottom of his cage as his carpet. Your newspaper, which is very versatile in serving double-duty being the perfect size to fit the bottom of the bird cage, had been opened to page 11, which happened to be the Letters Page. What had attracted Chico’s attention was the lead letter from one Robert McFetridge from Bowser, who laid out his ideas of safeguarding B.C.’s coasts against any oil spill.

The plans include that every tanker be accompanied by a “full-service recovery vessel” to recover any spilled oil, then another “full-service spill recovery ship for redundancy at any time a tanker is underway in B.C. waters.”

Unable to grasp such technical engineering jargon, Chico’s bird-brain had envisioned a recovery vessel being employed to recover another recovery vessel. He was even more befuddled by the letter’s next suggestions that “shipping season should be limited only to summer months,” in storm-free mid-April to mid-July. Then there were steps that should be taken by the tanker crews to prevent harm to whales and dolphins, by employing whale observers on the bow and drones to monitor any whale activity ahead of the vessel.

All these recommendations in one letter had sent Chico over the edge causing him to laugh hysterically and lose balance on his perch, when trying to figure how the man he called Bowser Bob came up with these ideas that he considers to be “minimum requirements.”

I tried in vain to convince Chico that it was probably written in jest, or even as a tanker trick or treat for Halloween; between ongoing bouts of raucous laughter he replied that the best things in life are free, like when the newspaper carrier drops The NEWS  into our paper box.

Bernie Smith

Parksville

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