Three drunk birds


Are these birds drunk?

Aaron J. Brown

Aaron J. Brown is an Iron Range blogger, author, radio producer and columnist for the Hibbing Daily Tribune.Holidays over, Northern Minnesotans now face the cold reality of the *real* winter ahead. If you think it’s rough walking out to start your car in subzero temperatures, think of tiny birds abiding with nothing but feathers and resting heart rates of 500.

Winter birds eat what they can to survive, including some berries that have been out a little too long. This leads to a common phenomenon this time of year: birds drunk on fermented berries. National Geographic wrote about this last month, even describing a sort of rehab program used on some exceedingly drunk waxwings in the Yukon. (Long story short, people put them in cardboard boxes until they sobered up). But how does it really work … in nature? Let’s find out:

WAXWING: Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. These are my berries, Chickadee!

CHICKADEE: Nope. Nope. Nope. They’re mine, Waxwing. Nope.


WAXWING: Crow is right, hey. We can share. Hey, hey, hey!


(One hour later)

WAXWING: All I’m saying is that I put a lot of miles on these wings, and I’m not ashamed to get a massage once in awhile. It’s an investment.

CHICKADEE: But squirrels have those little claws. Don’t they hurt?

WAXWING: The claws are retractable. Lindsey, the squirrel masseuse I’ve been going to, she’s great.

CHICKADEE: Huh. And that’s the place right up in that strip gutter across from the Johnson feeder? I fly by there all the time. Maybe I should make an appointment.

WAXWING: Yeah, but you might want to make an appointment with Thad.

CHICKADEE: Thad? Why can’t I go to Lindsey?

WAXWING: Um, yeah, we’ve kind of got a special thing going. She says I’m her only bird customer.

CHICKADEE: Well, she could have another bird customer. There’s no rule.

WAXWING: It’s just that … I kind of … like … being her only bird customer.

CHICKADEE: Oh, man. Wait a minute. I don’t believe this. You’ve got a crush on your squirrel masseuse!

WAXWING: No, it’s not like that! I’m just saying that sometimes two cosmic beings can form an attachment that’s, you know, not necessarily romantic or physical, but, like, more than “just friends.” That’s all.

CHICKADEE: Dude, you’ve got the hots for a rodent. What do you think, Crow?

CROW: Caw! Caw! Caw!

WAXWING: Shut up and pass me some more of those berries.

CHICKADEE: I can’t. I don’t have *supple squirrel hands.*

CROW: Caw! Caw! Caw!

(One hour later)

WAXWING: Dude. Do you remember when we were dinosaurs?

CHICKADEE: Ohhhhhhh maaaaan. You know, not, like, directly. But there is some genetic memory there. Like, muscle memory. Like, I feel things in parts I don’t have, you know?

WAXWING: I remember being a dinosaur like it was, phhhffft, yesterday. Big jaws. The works.

CHICKADEE: What were you?

WAXWING: A dinosaur, man, like I said.

CHICKADEE: No, like, what kind?

WAXWING: Oh, I was a lot of dinosaurs. Over time. Hey, my favorite time I was a dinosaur was when I was an Allosaurus, though.

CHICKADEE: That’s the one kind of like a T-Rex?

WAXWING: Pfffft. T-Rex is, like, whole other thing. No, but I was big. The forest quaked in fear.

CHICKADEE: But, now you’re a cedar waxwing.

WAXWING: Yeah, but I was a dinosaur. They can’t, *hic*, take that away from me.

CHICKADEE: Listen, man. Don’t feel bad. You can fly! You think Allosaurus can travel 1,000 miles in the air?

WAXWING: Imma call Lindsey.

CHICKADEE: No, man. You don’t want to do that.

WAXWING: Imma do it!

CHICKADEE: There’s something in the berries, man. We gotta sleep this one off, right Crow?

CROW: Caw! Caw! Caw!

WAXWING: He said “call!” I heard him!

(One hour later)

LINDSEY: You’re carrying a lot of tension in your shoulders, Waxy.

WAXWING: Zzzzzzzzzzz.

CHICKADEE: Hey, Lindsey.

LINDSEY: What, Chickadee?

CHICKADEE: I used to be a dinosaur.

Aaron J. Brown is an author and college instructor from northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. He writes the blog and hosts the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio. This post first appeared in the Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.


  1. Billy Sung says

    Last caw !

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