Liberating the Birds

Suggested Wines: Barco Reale, Il Poggiolo (Grapes: Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon); Ania, Gabbiano (Grapes: Sangiovese Grosso)

Growing up, I slept upstairs, right over Vipore’s bar. At night it could get pretty noisy, but every morning I woke up to the sound of birds singing. It was fantastic, like a concert. I imagined they were singing for me, to rouse me before Mama did, and it was the best way to start each day.

But as predictable as the birds and their songs were the hunters who came to shoot them down. It was always the same. Shots would fill the air and the singing would evaporate. It stopped my heart every time. I don’t have anything against hunters, and I love a good duck or pigeon, but I really hated seeing my little friends getting picked off day after day.

One morning, Emilio and I decided to take action. We got up before dawn, and snuck down to the woods where the cacciatori parked their cars. We let all the air out of their tires and dug deep holes in the dirt road, covering them with sticks and twigs. Then we stole through the forest looking for birds caught in traps, and liberated them. We made fake, piercing bird calls and rattled trees to scare away as many birds as possible. I was working on the door of a trap when a hunter spotted us and started yelling. Emilio and I never moved so fast. The hunter had a gun and he chased us for maybe five minutes. At the end, he even shot a few times, but he was too far away. It didn’t matter, our mission had been a success. The next morning, the birds were back in full concert.