The birds are back. Every summer, a flock of small birds attacks the plum and apricot trees in my backyard. Armed with their sharp eyes and pointy beaks, they fly into the trees, peck at the not-quite-ripe fruits and then fly off satisfied with their oh-so-destructive little meals. After five years of shooing them off, I decided to try to outsmart them with a secret weapon: a plastic owl, which I picked up at a local warehouse store for about $14. This plastic owl is a marvel to behold. It's 15 inches tall. It has a painted-on face and feathers and yellow glass eyes that flash in the sunlight like those of some evil characters on a popular sci-fi show. To be fair, the plastic owl looks absolutely nothing like a real owl, which has a majesty and presence in the night sky that simpl...
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