In the past, anything with wings was a target because, when the plastic ball would bounce off their feather-protected chest, it seemed to do no more than startle them to flight. But after a couple of DRT (Dead Right There) kills with a straight to the ground fall and no flutters, I figured out that a head shot would almost always be fatal. At 30 feet and pushed by CO2 from a high pressure cylinder, that little plastic ball should not be underestimated.
But as my accuracy has improved, I now see that I need to be more selective.
You see, I like the doves even if they are dumb. They are nice to look at, have a gentle “who cooks for you” call in the evening, and just sit around quietly the rest of the time. Thumped in the chest, they jump slightly but otherwise stay put. They look around for the moment it apparently takes them to forget they’ve been thumped but then go right back to their meditations.
Dumb but pleasant, the doves get a pass.
Pigeons, on the other hand, are filthy. They poop everywhere. Because of that and they’re numbers, they’re fair game. But when I thump a pigeon or just whiz the little plastic ball within a couple of inches, in a flash it takes off with all its neighbors. They won’t return for 10-15 minutes. One shot is all I’ll get off. I have to make it count.
But they’re not my prime targets. That status is reserved for the ugliest and the craftiest, the Grackles.
Grackles have a call and an appearance richly deserving of such a revolting name and they are here in great numbers, far in excess of any other species. But they’re also the smartest. The gentle pop of the air soft gun alerts any within half a block and they won’t return for half an hour or more. (More time than it takes to write this blog.)
Songbirds, finches, cactus wrens and the descendents of the love birds that got away from a neighbor a decade ago and now number in the teens all get a free pass. They are all welcome in my backyard.
Shhhh! There! Do you see it? A pigeon, a big one, has returned.
Should I go for it right away or wait for a Grackle?