Adventures In “Pishing”

Most birders I know, and I’m sure you know as well, have at one time called upon “pishing” to attract a bird out of that deep tangle of brush. When used discretely this can be a very effective. However when used at an inappropriate time this can cause more harm than good. Today I tried it in a totally different situation than I’m normally accustomed to. At the nursing home my Mother lives in.

I was there today helping her fill out some paperwork and to visit when she needed to be alone by herself. So across the hall is a lounge where up against the wall sits this very large bird enclosure. Sitting about 6 feet tall and that wide across the front this mini bird habitat is too big to be called a cage. There are one of these on each floor of the nursing home and I could just sit and watch this for hours. But only having a few minutes I stood by the side and just watched.

Inside were 5 pair, both male and female of the same species (I think), of these very cute (I’m sure tropical) Finch type birds. They were all very active and vocal as they busied themselves with taking care of their nesting baskets and adjusting the straw, or jumping from branch to branch. So while I’m standing there I moved over to the screened portion of the bird enclosure and ever so softly started to “pish”.

The reaction was incredible! All of a sudden practically all the birds flew to this branch closest to me and started to stare in my direction, and then picked up in their own vocalization. It made me chuckle as I watched how captive birds will still react to “pishing”. Not wanting to irritate them any more I walked out of the room and back to visit with my Mom.

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2 responses to “Adventures In “Pishing”

  1. That’s a great idea to have birds at nursing homes- I never get tired of watching their adventures!

  2. I took my oldest birding on Father’s day two years ago. I did some pishing to draw a catbird from heavy brush. She’s been teasing me about it ever since.

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