December 10th – The Big Shoot (Out)

Mistaken for Betsy Smith, this undercover agent was gun downed in cold blood.

For the past two weeks there has been a lot of activity at Ruthven. And, although it effected the birds, it had nothing to do with them. The Feds had had enough and were coming gunning for Board President, Betsy Smith. Now, I don’t know what Betsy has been up to but, as one federal agent put it: “That Betsy is one tough old broad!”

I thought that maybe she had been running a marijuana grow-op out in the woods but the only grass Betsy seems to know is the stuff in the Bobolink Restoration Field. So…..I’m flummoxed. But my flummoxation (is that a word?) didn’t seem to deter the agents as they took off up the Mansion front steps, submachine guns blazing. Victims of the shooting were strewn all over but Betsy must lead a charmed life as, lo and behold, she was alive and well and in fine form introducing the Arrogant Worms at last night’s concert.

Just in case some of you might read this literally, I should explain: for two weeks Ruthven was the sight of a film shoot for the TV series Nikita. On the day the pictures were taken, both the upper and lower parking lots were full with cars and trucks and people. Each “take” of the shooting scenes had to be done many times – so it was pretty wild for several hours.

There were two discernible effects on birds: reports from the Gingerbread House (the inn right next door) describe a large group of Wild Turkeys running past the back door at the very first sound of shooting. Also, I was showing a friend how the mist nets work, and one particular staccato machinegun burst scared 6 birds, that had been at the feeders, into Net 1. Might be a new technique for us to consider……

With the coming of the recent cold weather, the feeders are seeing lots of action. We’re having to refill them almost every day. Nothing out of the order except for the sighting of the occasional Pine Siskin.

Getting the weapons ready.

Nikita chasing arch-nemesis Betsy Smith up the Mansion stairs - that Betsy's a spry old bird.

The Black Horde ("Feds") prepares to storm the Mansion...and scare the Wild Turkeys.

What a great job! Falling down dead in the cold, wet dirt 20 times....for just one take.

Little does this guy realize the gruesome fate that awaits him. (See opening picture)


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