Don’t Go

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I must admit I have had a very bad few days. All my family and friends are getting ready to migrate to Spain, and I don’t want to go! They can’t force me, can they?

I have health problems and fear of heights, but everyone is so unsympathetic. I get travel sick, and the pills don’t help.

They kill thrushes in France! They have caller birds that are left in the dark, and when they are exposed to the light, they sing their hearts out to attract innocent birds like me. You must fly over France to get to Spain.

The hunters put glue on poles and stands. You land on one of those, and within hours you could be on a bed of rice or under a pat of butter. The more you twist and turn, the worse it gets.

So why would you risk your life for warm weather? They even shoot birds for sport!

People just don’t realise the work that we birds have to go through before we migrate.

We have to study the maps and learn how to use a compass. All the learning is very secretive so as to avoid other birds pinching our routes. A lot of that goes on.

We all have to learn foreign songs and eat foreign worms.

We have to get used to flying at night, often in the pitch black. The older generation is especially at risk. They have been known to wander off and forget where they are going.

The youngsters are also in danger. When we fly over the  English Channel, we are meant to dive down and catch fish to eat!

My fear of heights and travel sickness could cause real problems.

We are meant to feed on flying insects and know which ones are which. Supposing you forget and end up eating poisonous insects?

I go to all the classes, of course. I don’t want to attract attention. I usually doze off and rest at the back so that the teachers don’t see.

My parents are so excited. They make plans and chat about seeing old friends and buying presents.

But I had had enough! One evening after supper, I just had to let it out. I couldn’t keep it in, and I worried about devastating my Mother.

“I can’t do it. I’m not going!” I said.

They couldn’t believe it. This had never happened before. Mother thought that I was ill. She warmed some milk, put a hot water bottle in my roost and took my temperature.

The next day the doctor was called. He gave me a thorough examination and found nothing wrong at all.

“Stress probably,” the doctor said.

Stress! It’s much more than that. These young doctors don’t know what they are talking about.

The nightmares are getting worse. Dad had a firm bird to bird talk with me the other day.

“Our breed has been migrating for hundreds of years. You can’t let the family down. What can I say to the others? My name will be mud. You have to bird up”.

The days flew past, and everyone was busy packing and fluttering past me. There was so much excitement and activity.

Then I made a decision! I could run away and hide until they had gone. When they realised that I wasn’t there, it would be too late for them to turn back and look for me.

I would have to get used to the colder weather in England. That wouldn’t be as bad as flying thousands of miles.

The day before they were going off, I hid in the woods. I had enough birdseed and peanuts to last a few days and made a fire to warm me at night.

The skies were dark with birds’ wings the next morning, and I knew that they had gone.

I was a little tearful and depressed. I sat and wondered what to do.

Then I heard my name being called. My sisters, Marge and Doris, leapt up from a shrub. I was astonished.

“We couldn’t fly off without you. Our new home wouldn’t be a home without you,” they said.

I was so relieved and grateful.

We have finally found roosts in the woods and see each other all the time. Such a happy ending.

Although I miss the family, at least next year they will all be back. I have a long time to think up an excuse.

One evening Doris, seemed to be up late beside the birdbath. I was concerned that she might miss the dawn chorus. I took off to discover that she was chatting with a Homing Pigeon. It seems that he was off to France the next day. In fact, he was going to a wedding near our parents’ place.

Doris asked if he could take a postcard to them. No problem.

The Pigeon was so happy to have a mission. Not only could he deliver, he said, but could bring a reply!

It took a long time, but eventually, he arrived. He even had a postcard for us.

It seems that all the family and friends are safe and sound. They thought that we had got lost and were so relieved to get our postcard.

We’ll all have a big party when they come back. Meanwhile, we’ll just enjoy ourselves. I was always a home bird!

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- Total nr. of readings: 1,220 Copyright © The author [2020] All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.

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