HOW TO SALT A BIRD’S TAIL
By Norris Chambers
A generous information dispensing adult told
We made a quick trip to the kitchen and loaded our pockets with salt. My mother didn’t know about this, or she might have protested the waste of salt.
There were plenty of birds around the barn and we headed there to try our new bird catching technique. Of course it didn’t take long for us to discover that we couldn’t get close enough to put the salt on the tail. We retired to our perch on top of the shed and entered into a high level planning session. There must be some way to get the salt on the tail.
The first thing to consider was the container for the salt and some way to make it spill. A nice sauce pan with a handle seemed a good choice and a sneaky trip to the kitchen to borrow the pan and get some salt was the next step.
We found some stiff wire, circled two pieces around the pan and twisted it on each side with a pair of pliers, leaving about two inches of wire protruding on each side. We twisted a small circle on the ends of two pieces of wire, slipped them over the protruding wires and hung it from one of the rafters in the shed. A sudden pull on the handle would surely spill the salt on the birds below! It was a simple matter to tie a string to the handle, run it through a staple on one o the lathes and then take the end to the house where we could pull the string and empty the pan quickly.
A handful of grain under the container would soon attract birds and we could pull the string from our comfortable perch in the tree in the yard. Our plan was working beautifully. The area beneath our salt was soon covered with birds and chickens. We pulled the string and the salt floated down on the unsuspecting diners. We rushed to the barn to catch our birds.
As we approached the shed the birds flew away and the chickens scattered. The plan had failed.
must have got some salt on the bird’s tails.”
When we explained our experiment to Uncle Zeb he laughed and said. “Boys, the idea about the salt is that if you are close enough to the bird to put the salt on the tail, you can catch the bird without the salt.” We thought about that for a few minutes and decided he was right.
A few years later we did catch birds, but we used traps! The moral in this story is: don’t always take the easy way – the hard way might get better results. And if neither way succeeds, think of all the fun you had trying!