Tuesday, June 07, 2011



Half a month ago, I posted these two pictures of the sparrows that Marta and I were feeding at the park in Moscow, and I showed them to mama today, she loved them, and then she went out and came back with two baby sparrows that she found in the grass on Khreshchatyk. Had we lived in some park, she would've left them there, for their parents to continue caring for them. But on Khreshchatyk there are too many people and too many cars, this place is a bit too tough even for humans, no way these poor birdies would've survived it.

Our cat is growing more and more interested in them, and they require more or less constant feeding, but I do hope they'll survive. Mama is a former biologist, and she has tons of positive experience with all sorts of ordinary birds and animals: we've had pigeons and crows at home, and frogs and rats, and cats and dogs. Life is never boring in our family.

I looked up baby sparrow feeding tips on the web: turns out that in the States one needs some special permit to keep a sparrow at home - because sparrows are considered wild animals or something there. Which they are, of course, but still, I wonder if it's true about the permit.

On a different note, I saw a Svoboda Party rally against political repressions today - it was a comparatively small one, they were moving down to Khreshchatyk from the Shevchenko Park, and there were plenty of cops around them - as well as around the Lenin monument and the communist tent next to it. Haven't seen anything in the news about this rally yet.

And when I was walking past the 5-star Premier Palace Hotel on Shevchenko Boulevard in the evening, an elderly priest (or was he a monk?) asked me for some change: he was dressed in a neat black robe, had a neat beard - but the golden/gilded/shiny cross on his chest was too huge, too conspicuous, too in-your-face. I asked him where he was from, and he said, Konotop, in Ukrainian. His left eye was missing. I had a fleeting thought that he might be just posing as a priest (or a monk), but I gave him some money anyway - because even if he was a fake, he still didn't look like one of those Premier Palace guests to me.

Back home, we watched "Rio" with mama and Marta, to mark the arrival of the baby sparrows.

And an hour or so ago, I saw a very tall bum down at the playground: he was collecting empty bottles into a white plastic bag. He drank up whatever remained in a couple of those bottles, and seeing him do it made me really sad, even though this is definitely not the first time I observe something like this at this playground.

And it all got me thinking of food chains.

Baby sparrows feeding on the soaked cat food that our cat can't eat because of his health problems; the cat who'd really like to eat the sparrows, and that unhealthy cat food as well, but is on a diet; an eccentric-looking priest/monk who is quite conveniently begging for money next to a 5-star hotel; communists camping by the Lenin monument across the street from the 5-star hotel, and their Svoboda adversaries, all part of the really lucrative political food chain; local cops who seem to be regularly making some pocket money off the young people who drink beer illegally outside; a bum who makes some cash by collecting empty cans and bottles, and also gets to fill up on the beer and gin & tonic left over by those young people who got busted by the cops; and, finally, another bum, who is at the playground right now, surveying the locations already covered by his colleague - he leaves with nothing except for a large cup of cola from some fast food place that he came with, most likely a find from another dump.

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