pigeons aren’t rats but rats are also okay.

YOU GUYS. Earlier today I heard someone call a group of pigeons “rat birds” and look at them in disgust and I had to do everything in my power not to flip every table in sight.

Luckily there were no tables in sight

Pigeons are intelligent and can be trained to DELIVER MESSAGES. This is such an uncanny ability that we don’t even REALLY KNOW how they do it. Like science HAS NOT FULLY FIGURED IT OUT.

These birds are a marvel of the natural world, just like everything in the natural world, and they deserve your RESPECT, my friends.

I know that people see pigeons as “dirty” or “messy,” and they are. All birds are. But do you know who else is dirty and/or messy? HUMANS. And if you don’t believe that you’ve never seen the episode of Mad Men where they go on a picnic on the side of the highway and when they leave they just shake all the garbage off their picnic blanket and leave it there.

Currently doing a Mad Men re-watch.

Humans make a mess all over the place. They’re gross and they smell bad. I pretty much hate us but we’re not different from other animals in that respect.

I do understand that many people fear pigeons, and birds overall. They hang out in gangs and they fly around erratically. I get it that it seems like one might get tangled up in your hair or go to the bathroom on you. Or go to the bathroom in your hair.

And yes, that HAPPENS. But I will submit that having a pigeon go to the bathroom on you is way less gross than changing a human baby’s diaper or a dog making a bathroom mess in your house. The pigeon stuff seems like the easiest to clean up and deal with quickly, in my opinion.

Ugh. Bathroom stuff. Ew.

Also birds are essentially dinosaurs. But instead of FEARING that, I’m calling upon you to EMBRACE it.

Don’t even get me started on how people talk about rats. Actiually I’m already started so here we go.

FIRST OF ALL, it is rude as hell to describe a pigeon as a “rat” with a disdainful and disrespectful tone. It is ALSO rude to the rat.

VERY RUDE TO THE RAT.

I don’t need to show you “Templeton at the Fair” yet another time to get you to be cool with rats, do I?

Okay here it is just in case.

But like, rats are fine. Get over it already. Yes they crawl on the ground so they attract a ton of germs. But liking them or at least thinking they’re “okay” doesn’t mean you’re going to like, go up to them and lick them or something. Just allow them to occupy the space. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE SECRET OF NIMH?!

HAVE SOME RESPECT.

THIS WHOLE PART TERRIFIES ME TO THIS DAY.

They do medical tests on rats because THEY ARE VERY SIMILAR TO US. Their bodies age the same way. Disease affects them the same way. Even their little brains react to scientists messing with them in the VERY SAME WAY that our little brains react to scientists messing with them.

It’s important stuff.

Rats have done us a great service AND THEY CONTINUE to show up for us in the lab. Even though they don’t know that they’re “showing up” and they didn’t choose to be there. Either way we owe them.

Enough about the lab rats because the rats that live on these streets are also pretty badass. First of all they’re not even FROM here, they came here on BOATS, just like people. I like to imagine it was a real Fievel’s family in An American Tail vibe but yes you’re right those were mice not rats.

Personally I get a big thrill whenever a rat runs across the sidewalk or wanders over the PATH tracks or tumbles into view screeching while locked into a rat-battle with one of its rat brethren. It’s the circle of life. And it…moves us all.

In conclusion, pigeons aren’t rats but rats are also okay. I could have made all of these facts up and I encourage you to fact check them BUT I ALSO ENCOURAGE YOU TO IMMEDIATELY RESPECT BOTH PIGEONS AND RATS.

thx.

*I’ve included some pigeon and rat photos from my cherished personal collection. JK I don’t have any good rat photos. They move too fast!

flat rock brook birds of prey presentation.

This past weekend, during what I considered my birthday weekend and therefore an extension of my birthday, I attended a Flat Rock Brook birds of prey presentation in Ercel Webb Park.

IT WAS INCRED. I love birds and birding and all things bird and have been waiting for the opportunity to see one of these presentations. I saw their recent presentations at Lincoln Park and another park I forgot on social media and couldn’t wait for the chance to go to one myself.

THIS WAS MY CHANCE.

I do think that these presentations are probably intended for children and like…FINE. But I signed up and I went and I saw some birds and you’re never too old to learn something new and hang out with birds. Deal with it.

On Saturday afternoon I headed over to Ercel Webb Park and I was super pumped. First of all in my mind this particular park was called “Lafayette Park” because it’s by Lafayette Pool/Aquatic Center/whatever. I feel like I have even referred to it as “Lafayette Park” and other people have known what I was talking about.

It’s not called “Lafayette Park.” Sorry.

JK I LOOKED IT UP AND IT IS REFERRED TO AS “LAFAYETTE PARK” IN A LOT OF PLACES ON THE INTERNET. There must be some kind of transfer of power/responsibility going on but I’ll have to look into that another time because THIS IS ABOUT THE BIRDS. But PS “Friends of Ercel Webb Park” helped get this event going and introduced the birds and bird pros.

As I was walking over I saw two hawks flying over MLK Drive. I am NOT LYING, they were there. I don’t know what kind but I DO know they weren’t seagulls or turkey vultures because I checked. I CHECKED. So I was super pumped that I saw some birds on my way to see more birds.

When I arrived at the park I saw that they had a cute little pumpkin patch set up for the kids. Since I AM a kid and I had registered myself for the event I took a pumpkin and I don’t regret it. I love pumpkins.

They provided Thanksgiving stickers to put on the pumpkin which I felt was very inclusive and respectful to this most valuable but often ignored November holiday. Great work!

After securing my pumpkin and stickers I proceeded to an open area where there were circles spray painted on the grass, 6ft apart. This was the first place I saw circles like this in person! I’ve seen pics of them doing it in parks in NYC but never experienced it for real and I liked it.

I laid out my blanket, put some turkey stickers on my pumpkin, and took out some knitting to work on while I waited impatiently for the birds to be revealed.

They really built up the suspense with the bird reveal because they had the birds in dark boxes! I’m no expert but I do know that birds feel safe and calm and probably like it’s time to take a nap when they’re in a dark, enclosed space. My pet budgie really likes it and I think he’s qualified to tweet for all birds.

It felt like actual years went by but it was finally time to take the birds out and I’ll tell you all about what I learned!

tilly – eastern screech-owl.

Tilly the Eastern Screech-Owl was napping HARD when they took her out of her box. Since she’s nocturnal it was during her sleep time.

Tilly ended up with Flat Rock Brook because she got attacked by a cat and is blind in one eye. She wouldn’t be able to live her badass screech owl life in the wild, so she lives a badass screech owl life as a bird ambassador and I think that seems okay with her.

During Tilly’s time in the spotlight she started to wake up and move around a little and she was really, REALLY cute.

But also a fierce predator that dines on small rodents and insects. YUM.

Toward the end they played a screech owl sound for us. They said they were going to play it before they played it and I was like “OMG Tilly is gonna LOSE IT!” because that’s what my pet bird does when I play pet bird sounds.

Tilly did not lose it and actually didn’t even notice. I guess she’s just too cool for school.

titus – american kestrel.

Titus, on the other hand, LOST IT. As soon as they took him out of his little box he was yelling and flapping and seemed completely outraged.

Sorry I couldn’t get a good pic of Titus but he was a lovely bird.

Kestrels as a species maybe get a little outraged sometimes, I’m not sure. They’re a type of falcon and were described as “feisty.” They’re common in cities, so be on the lookout!

I also learned that Titus was hit by a car and had one wing that didn’t heal correctly so he couldn’t be released back into the wild. Because he can’t fly. HE IS A BIRD AND CAN’T FLY. HOW RUDE OF THE WORLD.

Honestly I think he’s still pretty pissed about it and I guess I would be too.

jones – red tailed hawk.

Jones! Hello! I love you!

Before they took Jones out they were like, “Just want to warn you, this thing is huge.” And they took her out and SHE WAS HUGE.

I’m used to seeing these guys in the sky in the field behind my parents’ house, up in tall trees at Lincoln Park, and in every state I’ve ever traveled, soaring over the highway. They’re all around!

But it’s super nuts to see one so close because they are ENORMOUS. So large and beautiful and perfect and asking to be my best friend.

Sure!

Loving. It.

Poor Jones was shot by a shotgun and honestly if I remember correctly I have met other hawks that were similarly disrespected. LIKE WHY?!

Additionally Jones has a female Red-tailed Hawk friend named Ramona she lives with, and SHE got hit by a car. I’m so glad there’s a place for the birds to live that will take care of them and watch out for them and also bring them out into the community to hang out with me and other children.

josephine – great horned owl.

Josephine the Great Horned Owl was hurt by garbage humans in a slightly different way. She was found as an owlet, and because she was very, very young, she imprinted on the (not owlet professional caregivers) people that were taking care of her and never learned how to live that owl life.

So now she needs human assistance to live some kind of owl/person hybrid life. SHE IS LIVING A LIE.

But she was very beautiful. VERY. And the most amiable of all the bird ambassadors, I guess because she was the most comfortable around humans and/or didn’t feel like taking a nap like Tilly.

They talked a bit about bird body language with Josephine, I think as a way to highlight how comfortable she seemed compared to the other guys. She really was just hangin out, owling around. And stuff.

I study my pet bird’s body language very closely and I think he wants me to get out of his face most of the time so I found this part very interesting.

And then it was over! It went by so fast! It also started to get cold as the sun went behind the buildings around the park, so I was ready to pack it up and go home.

I can’t wait for there to be another bird presentation in a local Jersey City park. I don’t care if it’s the same birds and bird pros and the same presentation with the same information, I will go INFINITE TIMES.

MAYBE I’LL SEE YOU THERE.

gail’s pumpkin patch.

Just a quick little tribute to Gail’s Pumpkin Patch.

GAIL’S GLORIOUS PUMPKIN PATCH!

Gail is a KuneKune pig that used to belong to my sister.

Gail!

She’s great! But she kept escaping her pen and roaming around and causing a disturbance and my sister felt she’d be better off on a larger farm with more space and perhaps more of her Suidae kind so she gave Gail to a farmer who promised to never…”harvest” her.

Gail again! But she got bigger and needed more space <3

Even though Gail is gone, her pigpen is still here and she left behind a full-on garden that sprouted from the seeds of foods she was fed combined with natural fertilizer. And that’s all I’m going to say about the fertilizer.

Over the summer there were tomatoes! And at the end of the summer pumpkins started to appear!

These pumpkins, of course, were ready for picking. So yesterday we braved the pouring rain and went outside to pick them.

There were 5 pumpkins and they were all pretty big, so that was exciting. Especially because they had just grown on their own without any amount of human effort or consideration. Just Gail living her life caused them to grow so large and beautiful.

I have to Google this but I also think because they were fresh off the vine they were more…moist…and therefore heavier. Also they had some kind of weird clear slime that came out of them when we carved them. I’ve never seen that in all my years of pumpkin carving.

OMG CUTE LIL MINI CURLY VINE
The wet looking stuff is “slime”

My sister and I both carved what I call a “Classic Jack” and it was funny to me that we both carved almost the exact same thing without discussing it or looking at the other’s pumpkin while carving. I guess our style of “Classic Jack” is ingrained in our Pop brains from childhood.

After we carved we also baked the seeds and the were INCREDIBLE.

Carving pumpkins and baking the seeds is one of my favorite things EVER so I was really excited to use these special backyard/Gail’s Pumpkin Patch pumpkins this year. It really made me very glad.

My sister said she was going to throw the guts and some seeds back into the pigpen so there can be a Gail’s Pumpkin Patch Revival next year!

Next year’s pumpkins!

CANNOT WAIT.

rally for liberty state park…again.

Not this past Saturday because I was at a wedding but LAST Saturday we attended a rally for Liberty State Park. I haven’t posted about it until now because I wanted to be very thorough and look things up and fact check like what people do in REAL JOURNALISM. As a classically trained journalist sometimes I like to do that. But it does take a lot of work, so not like, EVERY time.

As you can see, this took over a week to post so I guess I made the right choice in not pursuing a journalism career. Also in the end you’ll see that it’s mostly my opinion so who even cares.

This is the third time that we have gone to protest to protect Liberty State Park on behalf of the Friends of Liberty State Park. Their big issue is preventing the Caven Point section of the park from being developed by the nearby golf course. Caven Point is a natural area where a lot of migratory birds hang out. As well as a ton of other animals like harbor seals and also shanimals.

Yes, I hang out there.

The protests are always held in the southern part of the park, close to Caven Point. To me this part of the park feels like the most “state park” part of the park. I think it’s the parking lot.

On the way in, we noticed an odd box truck with screens on both sides, playing a commercial for Liberty State Park. This commercial seems okay on the surface, but it is not okay. This commercial is a trap. It was created by Liberty State Park for All, an organization that receives funding from Paul Fireman, billionaire and face of the movement to turn Caven Point into 3 holes of the Liberty whatever golf course.

This group has been working on blatantly misleading the community into thinking that Friends of Liberty State Park are somehow against keeping the park maintained and available to everyone. They’ve targeted citizens in Wards A and F (Greenville and Bergen Lafayette, respectively) to try to convince them that the Friends of LSP are against cleaning up the park and developing the park for the community, and that they only care about birds.

You know how much I care about birds. But the whole “bird” thing turned into a whole rude AF target for Liberty State Park for All. Like making fun of people for liking birds and wanting to protect birds. OKAY COOL THANKS JUST MAKE FUN OF THE BIRDS THAT’S REALLY HELPING SHIT, YOU GUYS.

The thing is, it’s very obviously not just about the birds. They just had to find something to focus on, to pick at. To create the narrative that we’re protesting against something that would actually benefit people and therefore we’re being lame for only thinking about birds. But making Caven Point part of a golf course wouldn’t benefit people at all. It certainly wouldn’t benefit “the public.” The public that lives in Jersey City and across the state.

It is a private golf course. It would not benefit the public in any way. Even if Paul Fireman expanded the golf course into Caven Point AND gave Liberty State Park private billionaire money to build some public stuff, like basketball courts, the public would still suffer. There are public funds for things like basketball courts, pools, amphitheaters, and everything else in the OG LSP “Master Plan.” We don’t need to make a deal with the devil madly fiddling away on top of a golf hole to get them. Are they called “golf holes?” I don’t know.

As we entered the park, there were “counter protesters.” I put this in quotes because there is reason to believe that they weren’t actual protestors and were paid to appear and protest. All of their signs were the same, in the same handwriting and said the same thing. As if someone had made them and passed them out. When directly asked what they were protesting for or against…they had no idea.

Everyone has a right to protest of course. And it’s fine, they weren’t doing anything wrong. But it’s suspicious that they were present under such conditions. IAs if they were being paid to participate, or were iuuuuuuu false information, or even worse were given no information at all. Which is actually what seemed like was happening. And it was creepy and weird and dare I say dystopian, just like the intentionally misleading commercial on the box truck.

We arrived at the protest to save Caven Point with a small sign in hand and took some pics with lady lib and then we were ready to protest.

Sadly it seemed like there were less people there than the last time we went to protest in January. And that could be for many reasons, COVID being the biggest one I guess. It was a Saturday, it was hot, people are just over it, etc. I don’t think there were less people because some of the people that were for protecting Caven Point last time are now against protecting Caven Point, but I didn’t have time to conduct an official survey. I think it was just people being people. And not showing up. That’s a people thing.

But the people that DID show up were great and there were a few really awesome speeches from some great NJ folks. I’ll share with you my notes:

Sam Pesin, President of Friends of LSP – “We’ll get started soon, you enjoy the sun!” I liked that nice little welcome.

Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro – “Some people can’t afford The Shore or Great Adventure and this park is that for them.” This was so beautifully Jersey and I couldn’t agree more.

I didn’t make proper note of who said this but I have the line, “In the dark halls of the statehouse…” in my notes and I think that was a clever dramatic device on someone’s part. Nice work.

“If you don’t show interest in politics, politics will stioll show an interest in you,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. Also, “If they tried to do something like this in Central Park hell would freeze over. Why would we let it happen here across the river?!” YEAH.

Although he’s recently been a little questionable as far as likability in certain circles, circles that touch my personal circle as far as Jersey City society Venn Diagrams go, Mayor Fulop does say “Trenton” with a full-on NJ accent, “Tren-in,” like the “t” is silent, and that always makes me happy. And I’m sorry I guess. But I was glad he was there and for his support on this partcular issue at least. For now.

The mayor.

Ward E Councilman James Solomon appeared in an NJCU hat and I wrote in my notes he was “tryna be eyyyyy cool JC guyyyy,” emphasis my own. In the end he did reference the hat and also that he teaches at NJCU which I didn’t know so I guess I revoke my mean girl comment. Although I still haven’t forgiven him for the time when I used to live downtown and he knocked on my door and tried to engage me in some kind of political process when I was very hungover and clearly wearing my pajamas. That was too much for me. But I still like him, he’s doing good things. It’s fine. I’ll be fine. Ward E is Downtown, for your records.

I’d like to pause and say that Dancing Tony dutifully sanitized both mics and mic stands in between speakers. Thank you. HE RUNS FREAKIN FUN YOU GUYS.

New Jersey NAACP Armed Forces and Veterans Chair (and acting Environmental and Climate Justice Chair) Keith Bodden came out with a pile of literal hats (and a literal hat assistant man) to show all the different “hats” he has worn in his life and still wears now. I LOVED IT A TON YOU GUYS.

HATS!

I have in my notes that Frank Gilmore was the “best guy” but I guess I was tired at that point and I didn’t write down why. But just know that he freakin killed it.

A local 8th grade student came up and read a letter to the editor she wrote. She did a beautiful job and was very composed and well spoken, I felt proud! I got a little tearful when she brought up some things about the birds. You guys know I love birds. The whole time I was like, “maybe we need to make it less about the birds so people can’t tease us about the god damn birds,” but then I was like, “well…I do like the birds.”

Speaking of birds, Shayna Marchese also spoke a bit about the birds! She’s a photographer who takes AWESOME pics of birds in NJ. All birds all the time. I LOVE HER INSTAGRAM GO TO THERE. A TON of the birds she captures are within Liberty State Park and Caven Point specifically so you can really see what the area has to offer as far as nature, even in such an urban setting.

@shayna.marchese on Instagram GO NOW!

I don’t know when the next vote for the LSP Protection Act is, and I couldn’t find it online! I did find some information in all of the following locations, and I encourage you to check them out. I do think they will be updated once they have a date in mind.

Friends of LSP

Baykeeper of NY/NJ

BAYKEEPER + Good Boi

i had a budgie but it died.

Starting with a joke because I’m still really heartbroken about it. I had a budgie but it died.

Just like Murray, my budgie died. Also we don’t really call them budgies around here IN AMERICA but I think it’s a fun little name so I’m going to go with it.

A few months ago I wrote a post that we got a parakeet. We did! His name is Elvis. A few weeks after we got him, we got another parakeet and named her Stevie. In a true expression of the curse of the second child, I did not write a post about Stevie. So I’m going to write one in her honor now.

From the moment Stevie came to live with us I felt worried about her. For some reason I was nervous she would die. I never talked about it but in my mind she was always on the edge of death and I was constantly googling what could possibly be wrong.

It could have all just been in my head, like 99% of my problems, but she didn’t seem as strong and robust as Elvis. I know she was probably smaller because she was a girl, but there was more to it. She stood in kind of a slouchy position all the time. She often looked like she was breathing heavy or struggling to catch her breath. She came to us with dirty-looking wings and a tail feather that was all shredded up. Birds are supposed to preen their own feathers, so it seemed like she wasn’t taking care of herself properly. And I’m not 100% sure but I think a budgie’s long ass tail feather is supposed to really help with their balance, etc.

The first thing I thought when I saw her was “I can’t wait until she gets settled in and starts to thrive.” Budgies can live 15 years in captivity, and I was looking forward to the long haul. I wanted to be able to look back to the day we got her and say, “Look how far she’s come!”

Ugh. This really crushes me. But I felt like she DID get better. Her feathers started to look cleaner, and they also grew longer. She was talkative and alert. She actually yelled a lot. She made an angry bird screech that I’ve only heard Elvis do once or twice when he’s like REALLY PISSED. I thought it was a good sign she was so pissed. She had a zest for life!

Stevie also seemed like she was getting close to saying words. All of the YouTube videos I watch of budgies, and I watch a lot, include budgies speaking. And it’s cute as hell. But part of their warmup to speaking is like…robot sounds? And Stevie made a lot of robot sounds.

She was the only budgie in the family making any effort to say human words. And it was awesome. Her brother/roommate/boyfriend would just stand there and stare judgmentally. As he continues to do to this very day.

Stevie and Elvis also had a very sweet relationship that made me smile. She would yell a lot but often they would snuggle up together, clean each other’s feathers, and eat and drink together at the same time. At night after we would “put them to bed,” aka put a blanket over their cage, which is so much like “tucking them in” it makes me want to sob, they would make soft happy noises at each other for like 30 minutes before they fell asleep.

It makes me really sad to think about it now. I hope Elvis isn’t lonely.

I probably think about this too much.

The morning things started to go downhill for Stevie, she seemed really sleepy. Out of it. She sat in the food bowl and looked tired. She moved to a perch and kept kind of falling asleep and then flapping when she started to fall off the perch and woke herself up. I reached in to have her hop on my finger to check on her and she didn’t put up a fight. She wasn’t really trained yet so she would usually hop away, but this time she just hopped on my finger and kind of relaxed. Something was wrong.

I left to go to a barre class and brunch because I may be a weird bird lady but I’m still basic AF. When I returned home, conditions hadn’t improved. I started to panic and desperately sought advice from the internet. I came across a very helpful site called Just Answer. It seems silly but they had live people to chat with and I was able to talk to a vet that could advise some things to do. When it got to a point that I couldn’t find an actual avian vet to go to, the chat vet found an emergency care place in Hoboken that had a vet with some experience with birds.

The vet visit was going to cost $150 or more and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pay for it. Because I’m poor. But the chat vet also sent me information about veterinary care financing options. Like get it now pay for it later. I love to pay for it later! And get it now!

We loaded Stevie up and called an Uber. And went to Hoboken.

The vet was very kind. We had to drop Stevie there and leave her for a bit, because COVID, so we went to an outdoor bar. I was really upset. I drank a watermelon vodka drink. I felt more upset.

They gave Stevie oxygen and fluids, and recommended that she stay overnight. I thought that sounded fine until they said it would be $1300. There was no way. Vet care is so expensive. I won’t say that they took advantage of us or anything like that, I think this is just the way it is. They let us know that even if she stayed they couldn’t say it would even really help. They were very kind and helpful, and even gave her more fluids and a beak and talons trim, free of charge.

Not sure she really had “talons” but that’s the only word I can think of.

In the end they chalked it up to “respiratory distress.” Which a bird can fall victim to for no less than one million reasons. So we still have no idea why.

We took her home, to meet her fate. In the Uber on the way, she uttered her last little chirp of her short adorable life.

We kept her in a separate cage from Elvis in case it was contagious. She was covered for peace and darkness. She had food and water, and a heating pad to keep her warm. For little birdies it goes downhill fast and I felt like it was only a matter of time.

Not a good sign 🙁

Stevie only lived another 24 hours or so. The end was hard. I cried a lot. I felt really helpless. I knew she was dying and I didn’t know if she was scared and wanted company or wanted to be alone. It’s not clear what a budgie would prefer. Even google didn’t really know.

After she died I kept crying. For at least a week. I felt really overwhelmingly, unreasonably, unbearably sad. I couldn’t stop crying.

It felt strange, to feel so sad about a pet. And not even one I’d known that long. I just couldn’t feel better about the fact that I’d let her down. That I couldn’t pay to try to make her better. That I didn’t get to see her live and grow and thrive. Or learn words.

She used to love her bowling toy. Elvis doesn’t really care about the bowling toy and it makes me so sad, seeing the bowling toy still and silent.

Not interested in the bowling toy. Or any toy.

I had to do a lot of googling to find support for my unbearable sadness. As always I sought solace in commiseration. I tried to find other people that were uncontrollably sad about a pet’s death. And I did! The internet is a beautiful place. It helped me to heal. And I’m grateful for it every day. And I don’t care how bad some people think it is. It has everything we need.

Stevie currently is in our freezer. It’s a makeshift bird morgue. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. She’s wrapped in tissue paper, in a small cardboard Madison Reed box, also wrapped in plastic. I’m 80% sure it’s perfectly sanitary. She’s awaiting an epic Viking funeral, when we find the right place.

I just wanted to share all of that, to commemorate her. Thanks for reading. I love you little Stevie, Rest In Peace.

notable animal residents of jersey city: canada geese.

It’s possible you refer to these notable animal residents of Jersey City as “Canadian” geese. It’s actually “Canada” geese, if you want to be a dick about it.

I want to be a dick about it.

Canada geese are everywhere, in Jersey City and across the whole state and also in New York and Pennsylvania and possibly beyond that. They have taken over this land. And unlike their human countrymen they are mean as hell.

Beyond outraged.

They use the bathroom all over everything. The sidewalks, the roads, the grass. Our high school sports fields were fully defiled by them. I used to have to do cartwheels and back handsprings through through those fields. DO YOU THINK I LIKED PUTTING MY HAND ON GOOSE SHIT BY ACCIDENT BECAUSE I DIDN’T.

Some places (ahem, Brooklyn) have resorted to hunting them with dogs. They have literally released the hounds. Or maybe it was like sheep dogs? These geese got straight up Lassie-ed. If by “Lassie-ed” you mean ripped to shreds by a carnivore.

Okay after I looked this up I found that the Lassies and the actual killing of geese were two separate things. In 2009 geese in Prospect Park were capture and killed by gas and thrown in a dump. Which is heartbreaking and way less badass than a noble death by a natural predator. I’m pretty sad about it.

The problem is, they ARE invasive. Like they always were around some of the time, but only when they were migrating. Then one day they were like “omg we honkin’ heart the tri state area let’s stay FOREVS.” And then they did.

And honestly, I love them. I love them like I love all birds and all animal life that can thrive within a city, because seeing that animal life makes me happy.

But they ARE straight up dicks. They are PISSED OFF. They DO NOT LIKE YOUR TONE. Mostly I think they don’t want people by their babies and/or nests but they act like dicks even when it’s not baby season.

K see ya.

Speaking of baby season, it’s baby season now! These cuties! For a couple of weeks every spring, Jersey City residents forget how annoyed they are by Canada geese and they turn into local celebs.

They march their little families all around the town – through Newport Green, across the whole length of Liberty State Park, in a murky puddle on Marin Ave. They’re everywhere! I don’t really know their habits for sure but they seem to be in committed couples and sometimes the parents have two batches of chicks with them that are two different ages. This seems like a bold family planning strategy for a goose couple to take on and I salute them.

For the past couple of days I have been practicing this camera and taking pictures of my Canada goose pals. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If not I don’t know what to tell you.

we got a bird.

Today, we got a bird! He’s a small green parakeet and his name is Elvis.

I didn’t name him but I guess that name is okay. It references the Elvis Costello Elvis. Not the other Elvis. GET IT STRAIGHT.

You may be aware that I love birds so I’m very excited to have one as a family member. I had a parakeet named “Petite” as a pet growing up and I really loved her a lot so I’m pumped to hang with this guy as well.

Elvis is still settling in, he’s quiet and shy for now. He’s made a few little soft chirps and has eaten a ton of food. Today I ordered him some toys and a mirror and a bath and perches and also a cuttlebone. Still not 100% sure what a cuttlebone is or does but it’s something FOR HIS HEALTH and therefore very important.

Currently he has full wings, they aren’t clipped. Which means he could fly off into the sunset and never come back, or he could fly into a wall and hurt himself. So we have to be careful taking him out. And I guess we’re supposed to clip his wings? That makes me kind of scared. But seems like it doesn’t hurt? And would keep him safe? Maybe I’m wrong. We’ll just leave the wings alone for now anyway. Since it’s the apocalypse.

We put our photo by his cage to watch over him.

I wasn’t aware of this previously but he also would enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables according to the internet! So I look forward to sharing those with him. I’ll share the fruits. I’ll give him all of my vegetables because I don’t want them. DON’T TELL.

We discussed getting a bird previously but getting one today was a surprise! A surprise to me, my boyfriend went to pick him up and said he was “getting a palm tree” (which I also still want), and when he got back he was like, “Close your eyes!” And he walked me through the living room and I bumped into everything in the living room and when I opened my eyes the bird was there!

We got a bird!

notable animal residents of jersey city: dude cardinal on my block.

Today I’d like to speak about the dude cardinal that lives on my block, one of the notable animal residents of Jersey City.

Can you spot him?!

He is a beautiful, brilliantly bright-red bird and he runs this town.

The dude cardinal that lives on my block zips around very quickly so he is often hard to locate and always difficult to photograph.

We googled some shit about cardinals and it said that the males are “territorial song birds” so they sing in “a loud clear whistle” from the top of a tall tree or whatever to scare the other cardinal dudes off. So I’m pretty sure he’s the only dude cardinal around here, at least for a few blocks.

This is blurry but he battles some sparrows. V exciting bird content.

This dude cardinal on my block is SINGING HIS GOD DAMN FACE OFF all day every day. He’s lucky I like him because I usually hate loud noises. But I let him get away with it because he’s very handsome.

Majestic AF.

Most days we don’t see him at all, but EVERY DAY we hear him at least a few times.

The Internet also said cardinals like sunflower seeds, so I made sure to get birdseed that has some of those in it. Yesterday he was sitting in a tree looking very interested in the bird seed! But I haven’t seen him eating it yet. We’ll get there.

There’s also a lady cardinal, she’s brown. I haven’t gotten a picture of her yet but I hope one day I can get a little pic of them on a bird date. There are only so many small pleasures I can hope for in these dark times.

I know I said I was going to learn to use the real camera but I haven’t yet so these accompanying pics and vids are all I have for now.

I 💕U.

It’s worth mentioning that I never once saw a cardinal anywhere in Jersey City in the last 12(?!) years until I moved up here to The Hill. The Hill certainly has its issues but there are a SHIT TON OF BIRDS. And I like that about it.

feed the birds.

This gosh darn old AF gal knew it all along when she used to sing it to us…FEED THE BIRDS.

I loved that old lady. I wanted her life. And I thought the dad was a such a dick the whole time, which I guess you were supposed to. But he was a HUGE dick in this part like JUST LET THE KIDS FEED THE DAMN PIGEONS. LET THEM FEED THE BIRDS.

Pigeons are my favorite. Don’t even start with me.

But I love all birds! Birds are fun. First of all, they’re everywhere. They are all around us: city, country, mountain, river, on top of a tall building, they don’t give a SHIT. Since they’re everywhere, they can help you connect to nature at any given moment. Even on a very busy city street you can hear a chirp chirp chirp of a little house sparrow and you’re like, “Okay. This isn’t humans-only. I can deal.”

In these depressing times I have been looking out the window a lot. LIKE A LOT, A LOT. I know everyone is, because there are memes about looking out the window. A lot of memes. LIKE A LOT, A LOT. But one important thing I’ve had more time to look at are birds. AND I AM ALL ABOUT THE BIRDS. And I want to feed the birds.

meet the birds.

There is a cardinal that lives on my block. I believe there is only one bright red cardinal that you would think of as like a CARDINAL cardinal on my block and it is the boy one that is the boss around these parts. We have seen two lady OR juvenile ones. They could be either, we aren’t professionals and we don’t really know. A cardinal sound is the only sound I can recognize by sound and I hear it start at the same time every morning and it goes on and on the whole day through.

There is also a pretty consistent mourning dove that perches on the electrical wire thing outside my front windows. Oh I can also recognize that one by sound. But it makes me want to fall asleep. But it’s also calming. I guess it’s fine.

Yesterday I spotted a bluejay! I just saw the flash of its tail. I didn’t know what sound they make so I looked it up. Now we know. Spoiler: They sound like screech-y dickheads.

Along with these brighter bird stars are the less glam house sparrows and the sadly named starlings. House sparrows are cute and seem sweet but mostly they’re just basic. They’re the basic bitches of the bird world. Like they’re fine but there are a lot of them and you can’t tell them apart. There are actually a ton of types of sparrows that look exactly like house sparrows but they’re technically different kinds. I don’t have time for their bullshit. They all have the same feathers and got their hair done at the same place IF YA FEEL ME.

Starlings are an invasive species and I feel bad for them because it’s not their fault, forgive them for their fathers’ sins and all that, but they do pick on other birds and I don’t like their tone. They also keep boning constantly in the tree behind my house while I’m trying to eat breakfast and frankly it’s disrespectful.

Okay a Google search of both starlings and house sparrows dug up a ton of hot goss on them both and it’s not pretty so we’ll have to explore that another day. They both seem like total assholes and can be the bad guys in this story. Every story needs bad guys!

feed the birds.

Now that you’ve gotten a preview of the cast of bird characters, I’m going to tell you how to feed the birds.

Birds like bread…I think. I ordered a suet thing from Amazon and a little holder to hold it and I was all excited about it but some piece of shit person stole it from the front of my house. I hope they stole that box and opened it and were pissed it was bird stuff. No one likes bird stuff like I do. This piece of shit person probably never even realized that birds even exist. Let’s kick them.

Anyway I was super depressed due to the stolen suet and pretty much could not be consoled for hours. Finally I realized we had a stale Portuguese roll from EXTRA Supermarket so I broke it up into bird sized pieces and put it on the fire escape. I was desperate. I wanted to view birds and become one with birds and eventually become an actual bird so I could fly out my window and far, far away from here.

Birds came! Birds came to eat it. Some sparrows came, that was pretty much it. But it was a start. A squirrel also stopped by and I had to shoo it away. I like squirrels but THIS WASN’T FOR OR ABOUT THEM. By morning, all of the small pieces of bread were gone.

Was it birds? Was it squirrels? WAS IT WIND?! I don’t know but I did know that I had to get to Target early this morning and get some god damn birdseed immediately.

ATTRACTION!

So I got it. Brought it back.

(These aren’t real birds)

Poured it into an old cookie sheet because I don’t have a bird feeder and neither did Target.

Put it on the fire escape…

AND WAITED.

Only a squirrel came at first. It was pissing me off so I gave it some peanut butter to get it out of the way. I didn’t mean for it to take the tiny plastic container I put the peanut butter in. I thought it would lick the peanut butter out, like how a dog or cat would. I don’t know squirrels’ lives. I don’t know squirrels at all because it snatched it up and ran into a tree and down the street and out of my life forever.

Squirrel vid.

I know this is bad for squirrels, the environment, and the delicately balanced ecosystem. I promise not to do it again. It’s a desperate time and we all make mistakes. I’m sorry.

After I drove the squirrel away I set up my phone to get some video, and let it sit for 60 minutes. Almost nothing happened…but at the end the cardinal came and sat in the tree for a moment and thought about eating the bird seed! It also made cardinal sounds, so maybe it was alerting others to a new food supply. I hope it comes back tomorrow!

Cardinal!

I look forward to updating you on the full cast of birds during this time of boredom and crisis.

notable animal residents of jersey city: guardian dogs of bramhall.

In an effort to write about something silly/fun/nonsensical, I’m going to start profiling notable animal residents of Jersey City. These are not PETS of Jersey City, they are NOTABLE ANIMAL RESIDENTS of Jersey City.

The animals I’ll be profiling either don’t have owners, or are employed by their owners in some way. Those are my rules. I love pets but there is enough about pets on the Internet, the market is fully saturated, I’m not even going to try.

Today I will begin this series with notable animal residents of Jersey City that I refer to as “The Guardian Dogs of Bramhall.” I do not know these animals personally, but I admire them from afar. I try to get a good look at them without staring or being creepy and also keep my distance so they can do their job.

But I love them. So much.

They’re dogs so they COULD be pets, but no, they have an important career in security and they’re tired of you asking if they’re “good boys” because they don’t care or have time for your bullshit. They have a house to protect! As you may have guessed, the house is on Bramhall.

It’s a big old super pretty Victorian (I think) house and it also has a smaller house within its gates. The Guardian Dogs of Bramhall protect this hallowed territory with their VERY LIVES. If you so much as stroll past they are immediately ON ALERT and will run over to the gate. They bark and make a big deal about you being there. Okay okay I’ll be on my way BUT YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL BEASTS PLEASE BE MY BEST FRIENDS.

They’re often lounging on literal dog lounge chairs under a carport. They’re super nice lounge chairs like you would find at a pool in Las Vegas. The Guardian Dogs of Bramhall snuggle up and lounge but ALL THE WHILE they are WATCHING YOU WITH ONE EYE OPEN. They both did it today when I walked by. They heard me, and one eye opened on each beautiful tawny face. A raised eyebrow, a questioning look, then they settled back in when they saw I was keeping it moving.

Dog lounge!

I often ride a Citibike downtown and I specifically take Bramhall, first of all because there is a fun hill to go down into Berry Lane Park (after stopping at the bottom and looking both ways). But also The Guardian Dogs are on Bramhall! And as I ride by I say “Good morrrrning guardian dogs!” Or “Happy Friiiidayyy guardian dogs!”

And honestly they don’t like that because they get pretty pissed. Also I guess I’m being disruptive to the neighborhood overall.

I took this photo while walking I don’t want to make them mad.

BUT I JUST LOVE THEM SO MUCH. I don’t know why they try to make me feel like the little girl on Animaniacs about it.

Before a year or so ago, I didn’t even know about guardian dogs. I didn’t know who they were! I can’t believe it! But I went on a fun tour of this cheese farm in my hometown and they had guardian dogs there. And I was like “WHO ARE THESE BEAUTIFUL FARM LIONS?!”

The guardian dogs at that farm were really sweet, because THEIR job was mostly to protect the chickens from hawks and foxes and other predators. So I was their pal since I wasn’t a fox or hawk or other predator.

But The Guardian Dogs of Bramhall are tasked with protecting their home and owners employers from the predators of Jersey City. Which are…people. So I’m one of their marks. And I’m sad about it but I guess I accept it.

Guardian Dogs of Bramhall, keep up the good work. You are notable animal residents of Jersey City. I salute you.