Love Affairs Gone Bad

Welcome to this week’s Puffin Tales Advice to the Lovelorn column.

Live Science tells us that, “In firefly mating rituals, the males cruise by, flying around and flashing their signals to let the ladies know that they are looking for love.”

The male lightning bugs fly about three-four feet off the ground while the ladies recline on a grass boudoir. Out here in the country, there are a lot of flashing green lights, in part as the horny males ramp up their offerings but also to mark territory and push of the competition. Once a lady sees the best male’s light, flashes just once. Once the male sees the response, he wastes no time dive-bombing the bower of bliss.

Last night, a male lightning bug outside my study window was fighting off the green light on the router for the affection of the pretty female lightning bugs on the ground.

I don’t know who won.

The house in North Puffin is in the middle of a dinosaur preserve and I’m convinced that dinosaurs were the most annoying critters to walk the earth. Until they evolved into mocking birds.

Did you know the Northern Mockingbird is the direct descendent of T-Rex? Fact. “The Northern Mockingrex is a medium-sized noisemaker, a bit more slender than a thrush and with a longer tail. Mockingbirds have small heads, a long, thin bill with a hint of a downward curve, and long legs. Their wings are short, rounded, and broad [much like their predecessor’s arms], making the tail seem particularly long in flight,” according to

The mini-rex “enjoys making its presence known. It usually sits conspicuously on high vegetation, fences, eaves, or telephone wires, or runs and hops along the ground. Found alone or in pairs throughout the year, mockingbirds aggressively chase off intruders on their territory.”

We have a small army of them in South Puffin; the numbers are far greater than a squad or platoon and may approach brigade strength. Some of them have fallen in love with the mirrors on my truck.

Sadly, mockingbird love is abusive.

All of these birds land on the mirrors and peck at them, over and over and over.

I can only be glad that the mockingrex is so much smaller than the original. Those mirrors are expensive to replace.

A little skunk with its tail in the air fell in lurve with my big, Styrofoam, Omaha Steaks cooler on the porch in North Puffin.

Skunk and FriendDon’t get me wrong. An Omaha Steaks is a joy — the best cooler I own for taking frozen food back and forth between the Puffins — so the skunk had good taste.

The cooler was empty and washed out.

The skunk was beating and biting and scratching away on the lower outside corner of the cooler. Moved that cooler all around the porch and made a heck of a racket. I heard it all the way in the study where I was watching lightning bugs.

I turned the porch light on. Skunk kept killing the cooler. I flashed and waggled the flashlight. Skunk kept bouncing the cooler. I opened the door and barked. Skunk kept eating the cooler.

I won, though. I opened the door and pulled the cooler into the house.

The skunk ran off between the trash cans but I don’t know how he got on or off the porch. Unrequited love is bad enough but it’s worse when the object of your affection gets snatched by a noisy, woofing giant.