“Do you hear them, Squeaks? The sandhill cranes returned!” said Momanita.
“All I hear is you shouting about cranes calling.”
To other hootmans this sounded like squeals and whistles, but not to Momanita. She MOSTLY understood cockatiel speak. I MOSTLY understood hootman talk.
Momanita slid open the patio door, shielded her eyes, and gazed upwards.
“There they are! The V is flying overhead now.”
“Make up your mind. Are cranes flying or are V’s flying?”
Momanita forgot my Cheerio treat. The cranes distracted her. I fluffed my feathers and turned my back to her.
“I wonder why cranes fly in a V formation?” asked Momanita.
“I wonder why I don’t have my Cheerios.”
Momanita placed my writing nest on top of my rolly coop. I knew then that I’d learn why cranes flew in a V before I’d learn why I didn’t have my Cheerios.
“Geese, swans, and ducks fly in V formation, too,” said Momanita. “There must be a reason.”
Momanita climbed the stairs to HER writing nest. She scooted her chair to the computer and tapped the keyboard. I perched on top the writing nest and preened.
“I Googled ‘Why cranes fly in a V formation, Squeaks?’” said Momanita. “This is interesting.”
“Know what’s MORE interesting? My CHEERIOS!”
“Listen to this, Squeaks. There are three reasons that cranes fly in a V.”
“There are three reasons why it’s important that I have my morning Cheerio snack!”
“When cranes migrate, like the ones we heard this morning, it’s important for them to conserve energy,” said Momanita.
“If you give me my Cheerios on time, I conserve the energy it takes to remind you.”
“The leading cranes do most of the flying work. They flap their wings almost 70% more than the back birds. This especially helps when flying against strong winds.”
“I remember the wind blew my Cheerios off the table when you left the window open. Cheerios? Remember?”
“When birds fly in formation, it helps protect them from enemies like hawks and owls.”
“TERROR BIRDS! They’re SO scary! Almost as scary as not having Cheerios when you expect them!”
Momanita didn’t get the hint.
“It’s easier for birds to communicate when they fly in a V. Maybe we heard the cranes telling each other about when to land or turn or if there are predators.”
“Maybe I should be in a V formation with you, so that you’d hear my Cheerio treat reminders.”
“So, cranes and other birds fly in formation to conserve energy, improve communication, and safeguard against enemies,” said Momanita. “The morning excitement of the cranes flying and these interesting facts distracted me from other important matters, Squeaks.”
Momanita reached into her pocket and spilled a handful of Cheerios onto her desk. I climbed down to the delicious heap and nibbled a morsel.
“I knew you wouldn’t forget me!”
I thought she knew how I felt, because she MOSTLY understood cockatiel speak. I MOSTLY understood hootman talk.