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(by Guy Allen - Travels with Guido column, MT #238, circa 2010, updated 2020)


Feathers or family, a little persistence will get you what you want – according to Guido…

Travels with Guido - Determnation

There’s this little pair of small dark birds that roost in my shed. I was told they’re those pesky nest-robbing Indian Mynas (I don’t know much about birds, but they don’t match the online mugshots) and should be discouraged. For baffling reasons, they really like the garage, putting up with the shuffling and starting of the dozen-ish bikes. Maybe they’ve worked out I scare off the other carnivores. And, so far, I haven’t snatched and eaten one of them.

We have an uncomfortable relationship. For the first year, they tried nesting between the spare panniers in the roof, which was a disaster. The nest kept falling apart, often because I really needed those panniers.
We sorted that out and they moved the nest to the doorway.

Which I could live with except it’s steel, faces west, and gets to egg-cooking temp on a summer day, so then I felt obliged to construct a special shade for the feathered terrors and their offspring. The chicks of course freaked out when they saw me up close, wrestling a bike out from under their house, and then a whole new squawking drama began.

It gets worse. Call me old fashioned, but the parents insist on a flying lap of the shed and I object to the bird droppings on the snout of the Kingswood (not the Kingswood!) and assorted riding gear, the younger Triumph and – on a bad day when the berries on the nearest tree are ripe – Hannibal the Hayabusa.

So this year, no more. The little perishers were building in the usual spot, just above where Kate the Katana now lives, and I grabbed their handiwork and tossed it out. They built another, in record time, and it had a little blue speckled egg in it.  Nup, sorry. I picked it up and put it in a nearby tree. They ignored it.

I kept an eye on the shed and, after a fortnight, relaxed. Evidently my attention span is shorter than theirs, because I walked in last night and the little bastards not only had a nest in the usual spot, but were happily squatting in it. Okay, they win. I cannot pick up a nest with egg and live birds and evict it, so I guess that means I’m back on shade-building and birdshite-cleaning duty.

So there I was, admitting defeat, wondering what special genes are driving these creatures. And then I got an email from youngest unmarried Ms A. She attached the fuzzy pic you see here, from an age ago. It was Phillip Island and I remember it well. These were the days before insurance claims ruled the earth and we were about to embark on a couple of laps of Phillip Island, though she could barely reach the pillion pegs.

The first went well, but I lost the plot on the second and upped the pace. Her helmet started to float as we speared down the main straight and tried to pull her brand new earrings out – painful when we’re talking of freshly-pierced ears.

So father of the year pulls up in the pits (it took a little while for me to hear her howling over that of the VFR’s powerplant), to settle down the situation. She forgave me and provided yet more evidence of the healing properties of ice-cream.

Years later, though she now has her own bike licence, she emailed, “I’m bored. Do you still do track days? Can you take me on one?” Err, not really, but of course I will.

Funnily enough, my little feathered friends and Ms A both fly – the latter is now a commercial pilot.
And both, apparently, are determined to get what they want…

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