For me it is a Double-stuff Oreo cookie. Yes, I admit it. I can cram an entire Double-stuff in my mouth. The chocolate cookie and vanilla-cream “stuff” pretty much explode into a guilty pleasure that even my salt-of-the-earth grandmothers would have forgiven; but I’m fairly sure that both would have reminded me of the sinfulness of gluttony.
I could rationalize: by popping the entire Oreo, I avoid dealing with chocolate cookie-crumbs on the sofa (of course spewing is not an option in my living room). But I’ll just go ahead and confess; Oreos taste better when stuffed.
But I don’t partake in such guilty pleasure in front of the rick-man or other species of humans. My Oreo gluttony is usually saved for a solo evening of watching humans on TV, where they can’t watch back. Kind of like congregations on Sunday mornings, texting and checking smart phone Apps while sitting in a favorite pew, assuming the preacher can’t see them. We are so conditioned by TV that we forget that the watchers are sometimes watched.
And what is our reaction when caught with a mouthful? The hand instantly goes up, in front of the mouth, hiding the chewing and crunching crime. It is especially fun when you see someone with an overflowing mouthful quickly cup their hand in front of their mouth, and begin some attempt at verbal communication to imply nominal behavior. I’ve done it; I’ve seen others do it; have you?
And where could I possibly be going with this story? Well, this past Monday morning found me birding the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands site of the World Birding Center. I was standing very still, up against a brushy area of the front gardens. White-crowned Sparrows, Long-billed Thrashers, Olive Sparrows, and Lesser Goldfinch were but a few of the many birds sharing this spot with me. And then suddenly, in flies a male Pyrrhuloxia, perching not far in front of me, eye level.
This Pyrrhuloxia did not see me; otherwise, he’d be gone. From his world view he was alone. And he was toting a bird’s equivalent to a Double-stuff Oreo. A mouthful of feasting was about to begin:
I mean, we’re talking a bill-full, and the Pyrrhuloxia has one serious bill:
But this Pyrrhuloxia does what most species of Aves will do; they will look around to make sure they are dining in peace:
And yes, he seems to be looking harder in my direction:
And then he gives that wonderfully human-like look; a look that is something of a cross between being startled and being guilty--caught quite simply with the crime of an over-stuffed bill:
And what does he do? The same thing we humans would do—he hid his bill from my view! The open-billed feasting began from behind the cover of a convenient branch!
And all the while he chomped his tasty treat, he seemed to watch this watcher:
And if you didn’t “click on” the photos to get a full-screen view, give it a try. This beautiful Pyrrhuloxia (with a limited U.S. range of southwest Texas and the very southern tips of New Mexico and Arizona) will give you something to look at while craving your favorite snack! I’ve just added Double-stuff Oreos to the grocery list…