Day 257: Fly away

7147_bird_cartoonSorry this post is late, folks. I’ve been on an amazing seven-day road trip and have gotten out of synch with my timing.

Travelling offers lots of opportunities for good deeds, however (both the giving and receiving end), so I look forward to sharing those stories with you.

At the airport, for example, I came across a cellphone in a bathroom stall. (I think it’s safe to assume it was a woman’s phone — I was in the ladies’ room, after all!)

I thought about opening her address book, calling someone on her contacts list and telling them I had her phone, but I was about to get on a plane to a city far from home, so that didn’t seem practical. And what was that friend supposed to do? Call her?

I couldn’t come up with a better solution, so I walked over to the adjacent gate and turned it in to the airline employee. I asked him if there was somewhere else I should be taking it instead. But he assured me that, first, he’d make an announcement and if no one claimed it, he’d make sure it got to the lost and found.

Several times on that route, I dropped my scarf, one glove, then the other, and each time there was a kind soul who picked up each item and made sure I got them back. And in the sub-sub-zero temperatures we’ve been having lately, those were good deeds indeed.

And speaking of taking flight, here’s a lovely story I came across about a fine-feathered good deed. Enjoy!

Invisibility cloak

(From a story by Emily Chung/CBC)

For their school science fair project, most eight graders come up with erupting volcanoes or models of windmills. Ottawa’s Charlie Sobcov, however, invented painted, plastic decals that can be placed discreetly in the middle of a window pane.

“This paint is a colour that birds can see but humans can’t,” he told CBC Radio. “It’s like putting a big stop sign in the middle of the window.”

The colour is ultraviolet, beyond the range of colours visible to humans. That means the “stop sign” lets birds know the window is solid, but is nearly invisible to humans.

Similar flying falcon-shaped decals already exist on the windows of some buildings, but unlike Sobcov’s, they are black and can obstruct part of the window.

Sobcov, who studies at the Turnbull School, a private school in Ottawa, said he first fell in love with birds while on a trip with his parents to Costa Rica four years ago

He later read that about 500 million birds a year in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada were dying as a result of crashing into windows.

Sobcov resolved to help save the lives of some of those birds.

He started researching bird vision and found out that a bird’s eye view includes colours in the ultraviolet range.

After a search, he managed to find a company in Montreal that made fluorescent ultraviolet paint. The paint is used in the entertainment industry for things like “cosmic bowling,” to make lanes glow. In normal indoor lighting, the paint is invisible, but when ultraviolet “black lights” shine on it, it emits light of a different colour – within the range that people can see.

Sobcov has since posted a notice in the newspaper asking people to volunteer to help him test the decals, which can be easily peeled off and reused on a different window or a different part of the same window.


3 thoughts on “Day 257: Fly away

  1. Good for you, turning in the phone. My wife always wants to do that with lost items, but I always wonder if leaving it where it is is best.

  2. Reminds me of a time I found someone’s paycheck stuck in the bushes by my house. I called the company it was from, explaining the situation and asked to speak to the person it belonged to. The young man on the other end of the phone was so grateful. He told me he had received this check the day before and had placed it in his car’s visor but didn’t realize it had blown out of the window. He told me he had searched everywhere in his house and car and was just about to go to the company payroll to have it canceled. But he would have had to wait for the next pay period to get a replacement. Since he needed the money right away… I was especially happy to know he lived in the neighborhood, and I was able to deliver the check to his house within minutes. His wife was there at the door holding a baby; she offered me coffee, but, just seeing the smiles on both their faces was enough “thank you” for me.

  3. Thanks, Davis, I wasn’t sure if I should leave it or not, either!

    Bea, what a great story, thanks! I’m going to include that in tomorrow’s post!

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