Stop Thief!

The two words every store owner dreads. The first time it happened was during a lull on a busy Saturday afternoon. I was taking a break on the front porch enjoying the unusually warm late April weather. While sipping my forbidden favorite Tim Horton’s Peach Delight (WAAY TOO much sugar but oh so good) I heard a funny clacking noise, like a tapping and clattering at the same time. I looked around, the street was deserted. My husband wasn’t around ( it must have been about 5 pm, you KNOW what that means in Ellicottville – all the Back Room Bunch will be holding court front and center at the GinMill – remember the TV show Cheers? we still live it).

Suddenly – something swooped by my head. I flinched. What the…? It was a little too early for bats, after a bit I sank back into my Tim Hortons induced sugar coma. Again, clack, clack. I looked around more carefully this time. Could not believe my eyes!!! The clattering came from a large Blue Jay perched on an expandable willow trellis. He was trying to unravel the string price tag from the trellis with great determination. As I watched in astonishment he unraveled the tag and flew off to a nearby maple tree where another Jay was waiting.

That wasn’t the end of it. He quickly returned, darting around the front of the Tangled Twigs shop, looking guilty as hell and clearly searching for more booty. I puzzled out that the clever bird was using the string on the tag for his nest. Deciding to make a law abiding citizen out of the feathered thief – I put some finely shredded paper out for him. He hopped over, picked up a piece and quickly spit it out, apparently it was the wrong motif for his home.

By Sunday morning we were cleaned out. In 24 hours, the Blue Jay had stripped the price tags off every object we had displayed in front of the Tangled Twigs shop! High Crime in a small town!


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