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The Preacherman said, "My advice to you is to get yourself a gun, then learn how to shoot."
The Politician said, "My advice to you is to get yourself free of superstitions and weapons, then learn how to trust in me."


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Entry for June 11, 2008

I hate starlings. They are rats with wings. Two years ago, I found lots of them nesting in the attic of my relatively new house. Picture me, middle age, overweight, out of shape, crawling among the rafters, during the heat of August, with pellet-pistol and flashlight in hand, just shooting the living hell out of the feathered intruders. I’ll save the hoplophobic bird-huggers among you a phone call to the authorities; starlings are a non-native species and not protected, as are songbirds. I asked these birds to leave quietly and they refused, so I invoked The Castle Doctrine. Die you wretched starlings. Die!

The contractor that built these houses used cheap, flimsy, metal ridge-vents on the roofs. On my house, some of the end caps were missing and some of the ridge-vent openings where bent and unscreened. I had a contractor come in and remove the metal ridge-vents, then install a different, more bird proof, ridge-vent design. Problem solved, right?

Now the flying vermin have discovered the exhaust fan vent for the downstairs half bath, and the exhaust fan vent for the stove. Starlings can hover much like a hummingbird and flip a vent exhaust louver open with their beaks, and sneak in an opening that looks like it would be too narrow for them. They are talented little pests. My first homeland defense instinct was to sit on the patio with my pellet rifle and Rambo every starling that came within range. My survival instincts reminded me that, since this is Waukegan, Illinois, there would be a good chance of a SWAT team response to my address after the neighbors called 911 to report “man with a rifle.” I considered shooting the starlings from inside the house through an open window, but again was concerned about the neighbors’ possible reactions to seeing the rifle barrel poking out. I decided on something more passive.

I found some ready made bird-proof covers for the bathroom and clothes-dryer exhaust vents, but had to improvise a cover for the stove exhaust vent. It has been a long, hard day with many trips shopping for the right materials, and many trips up and down the ladder. I am beat, but so are the starlings, at least for now.

James A. Zachary Jr.

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