Friday 20 September 2019

My Pet: Long Legs flies in for late breakfast

Long Legs the heron
Long Legs the heron

Valerie Byrne

Hi, my name is Long Legs. I am a heron, age six years. I live on the River Nore in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny between Grennan Mill and Bob and Val's house in Mill Street. Their house backs onto the river and they have the most magical view of the river - and me, of course.

I'm a solitary bird and very territorial. I spend most of my days hanging out on my own, fishing for hours on end. I have endless patience, as the fish that I'm trying to catch are as wise as myself. I'm watching them and they're watching me.

Unknown to Bob and Val, I've also been watching them since I left the nest almost six years ago.

They would come to the wall and tap on a bowl and all these ducks would fly in to their garden. Some days they might have at least a dozen ducks in their garden. I would always count how many fly in and out for fear that one might go missing.

So over time I came to trust them with my life. Well, I'm a big bird and I have a massive wing span and it's not very easy to take off in a hurry if needs be - if say for instance there was a cat lurking waiting to pounce, or say Bob and Val wanted me as a house pet. I would never escape from the house. I have the best of both worlds as I can come and go as I please. I'm probably their alarm clock, as I fly on to their wall very early every morning, letting out a shriek as I land, just to let them know that I'm there to be fed. As I said earlier, I have endless patience.

It's just as well, because sometimes I could be three hours standing on the wall waiting to be fed, by the time Bob and Val get up, have a shower and as Val puts on her make-up. I use that time to preen myself. So she's looking out at me as I'm looking in at her, wondering when am I ever going to be fed?

Sometimes I get very impatient and as Bob is preparing the breakfast I will take a run and hop on to the garden table outside the window so that he can see that I'm starving. I might give him a dirty look as much as to say: "Don't you know how long I've waited to be fed?"

Sometimes Bob will feed me, other times I have to wait for Val and when she eventually does it's with camera in one hand and food in the other. So before I get fed at all, there would be hundreds of photos taken of me. So over the years I have become an expert at posing so that I can get fed quicker.

Must say, breakfast is always worth waiting for. No fish for me, thank you, only the best of roast chicken.

Valerie Byrne, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny

Name: Long Legs

Finest hour: I feel breakfast is always worth waiting for

Likes: Roast chicken

Dislikes: Lurking cats

* If you would like your pet featured in this column please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET

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