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Go bird watching

  At that time, there was a popular saying in our small town: “Go bird watching.” The thing first started in the winter that year, the sky was gloomy, and the dry leaves on the trees had fallen out. When we wake up in the morning, the soles of our shoes will be stained with the frost of last night. When the cold current from Siberia just arrived in this northern town, we took out the wool coat from the closet and put on the scarf. The wind in early winter was as usual, and the feeling of blowing on the face was like a punch in the bridge of the nose, causing tears to flow. We had to wrap our scarves to avoid the cold wind and the chaotic air blowing from the ground. At that time, sparrows were still the most common bird in our town. After three seasons of omnivorous accumulation, they have bloated into balls by winter. When the sparrow on the tree flies down from the top of the tree by the wind, it is easy to misunderstand that it is a dead leaf left over from autumn. This bird is like a rodent with wings that gathers wherever food residue remains. The combination of their gray body color and lifeless early winter heralds the cycle of winter after winter.
  For the residents of small towns, winter is the beer that can be eaten at four o’clock in the afternoon, and the drowsiness that comes slowly after dinner. No one noticed their arrival. I guess it was an evening, which was different from what most people in our town expected. The north wind engulfed the scent of Siberian cold lakes and tundra, and they came to the top of our city along with the air currents. That night, I, like all the sleepy small urbanites, stared at the eight o’clock TV series or tuned to the TV shopping channel. War stories are being broadcast on TV, and warm clothing is being sold in shopping shows. We stay indoors lazily, food makes our blood sugar slowly rise, sleepiness is about to hit.
  According to the weather forecast, the wind was up to force eight that night, and most people stayed indoors. At about 8:30 in the evening, I heard the sound of tree branches beating the windowpane violently, so I stood up and looked out the window. The sky and the ground were being stirred by the strong wind and became muddy. So, I sat on the sofa, raised my feet, and thought that in two hours, I could get into the warm bed. I didn’t know what was happening outside, filled myself with a glass of beer, and searched for snacks in the refrigerator for wine. And outside the window that I can’t see clearly, the rumored flock of birds is struggling to maintain their formation. The airflow swirls between their wings. The heart as small as an apricot provides the most energy for their flight—perhaps flying in the wind. It is not a difficult task, but it is really difficult to follow the group, avoid buildings, wires, and billboards while flying fast, and endure the dazzling lights and magnetic interference that are not in nature.
  The fact is, they landed in the park in the middle of our town early the next morning. The first person who discovered them was the sweeper in the central park. Like many stories at the beginning, he didn’t believe in the landscape in front of him at first. Early in the morning, the wind was cold and the vision was not clear. He took dangling steps-probably because yesterday’s Jiujin hadn’t completely receded. But he can’t call his uneven pace a hangover, because he, like many people in their forties and fifties in our town, starts drinking after four o’clock in the afternoon every day, and many people think he was born that way. Walking. He rubbed his eyes in the morning breeze, and in the faint morning light, he saw a bright blue floating in the middle of the lake. The lake in the park in our town center is formed by a natural river, so at first, he thought that the blue mass came from the upper reaches and was some kind of chemical material that was dumped illegally. He thought of the news he had seen in the corner of the newspaper many years ago: All fish and shrimps died, and the discoverer was diagnosed with cancer shortly afterwards. He fought a cold war with fright and took a step back. Many years ago, there was indeed a precedent for deliberately destroying public recreational landscapes in our town. Someone once poured silver paint on a statue of a former mayor. Although it was repainted, the surface of the statue could still reflect the stars at dusk. A little bit of silver light (this incident also led to the dismissal of several cleaning staff). He continued to move forward in panic, his steps still wobbly. When he walked through the grass and approached the edge of the lake, he exhaled a breath of cold air gathered out of fear. The bright blue ball took off suddenly in front of him, and at the moment of takeoff, he could distinguish the bird’s head, neck and tail feathers. The group of colors suddenly dispersed, scattered into a flock of birds-undoubtedly a kind of water bird. There was a bleak dark color around, and the birds seemed to glow all over. He was so close to the flock of birds that he seemed to be able to feel the blue feathers of the birds as soon as he stretched out his hand. Then, the birds gathered in groups and fell back to the water not far away, swimming around in the small lake in the center of the central park, covering almost half of the lake.
  Within a day of discovering the blue bird, everyone in the town had heard the news that the strange blue bird had come to our central park. By the end of the afternoon, people had begun to post Blue Bird photos and videos on social media, and some public media had already thrown out hot articles about Blue Bird or poetic or scientific analysis. For a time, there was a small traffic peak on social media in our town, which is a rare situation on non-holidays. I was drinking beer and flipping the glowing phone screen. The birds under the lens are as crystal clear as blue topaz, and they have aroused the longing in my heart after a long time. I drank another sip of beer, changed the position of crossing my legs, turned on the TV, and flipped through the various channels to read news reports about Bluebird. According to reports, some of us with strong curiosity went to the center of the park lake to watch birds almost the first time, while another group of people with more endurance waited until dinner to go to the park to watch birds. We all knew what happened later, because suddenly too many people rushed to the park to watch the birds, and the management department temporarily closed the park. Everyone’s birdwatching heart is even stronger. Many people tried to climb over the fence and were hung on the fence for a long time. The news exposed their embarrassment and became a laughing stock among relatives and friends.
  Within a few days, the park management department finally came up with a new countermeasure: restricting the flow into the park. Everything is done to prevent unnecessary disturbance to the birds. Bird watching crowds always keep a distance of more than 50 meters from the birds, and can only hide and observe at the junction of shrubs and trees; throw food and make loud noises to scare the birds. Groups or throwing objects are all subject to hefty fines. But the most difficult thing to stop is the enthusiasm of people to feed the birds. Everyone tacitly went to the supermarket to buy shrimp from the ocean, paid for it arrogantly, and then threw the shrimp to the bluebirds. Before the ban began, they blatantly threw the peeled shrimp into the flock of birds. After the ban on fines was imposed, people began to “accidentally” drop small packets of shrimp by the lake. The fallen shrimp meat attracted flocks of sparrows, and the sparrows ate shrimp meat that would never be eaten in a lifetime. People were worried that the sparrows would disturb the bluebirds, so they sent special personnel to patrol the lake. But the flocks of sparrows still attracted the falcon, and the falcon lingered in the sky. This was terrible, so our town purchased an anti-eagle net as fast as possible, which was only large enough for blue birds to fly freely and sparrows to shuttle through it. In addition, the arrival of Bluebird has also led to a series of peripheral industries. Since only telescopes can be used for observation, and camera flashes cannot be used, vendors selling binoculars and dark fill lights can be seen everywhere outside bird watching parks. Other things they sell are: minced shrimp meat, bluebird PS photo, bluebird whistle and so on.

  I am the only one of my friends who hasn’t seen the blue bird in person. Perhaps it is because of the current limit, or the queue waiting to enter the park is too long. Or because I turned on the TV at that time and saw all the news related to birds. Most of the news was about the clichés about what ecologically sound attracts migratory birds, and what beautiful birds bring new fortune. My eyes were fixed on the high-definition footage of the TV station: under the lens, the birds were all blue and their feathers gleaming. My few friends and I ate greasy fried potato chips with beer and watched the TV screen together. At that time, my friends persuaded me not to stay at home. They described to me the scene of the blue bird they saw with their own eyes. I couldn’t insert a word. They all add one sentence when they are talking: You should also go to the park to see the birds. Within a few days, I seemed to be the only one of us who had never seen a bird.

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