August 16, 2022

COLUMN: Oh those coincidences

Last week, I referred to a national Lutheran church youth group convention held in early August 1989 in Denver. Part of that event was a storm over Red Rocks, a beautiful, outdoor concert venue west of the city when a number of those kids were in seats. I was there.

I wasn’t alone.

After KSIB Radio news director Raquel Linch read my column, she contacted me and said she was there too. About 15,000 kids from across the country were in attendance. Linch showed me her evidence which was a Bible given to each kid. I still have my Bible.

The Bibles were distributed multiple times at McNichols Arena, the former site of where the NBA Denver Nuggets played. That was the biggest facility in Denver that held all the attendees at one time.

On the inside cover of the Bible was a page to write your name and address. You left the Bible in the stadium when leaving. The next time we met there, you grabbed another Bible and wrote your name and address. After the event was over, you randomly took one of the Bibles that had the names and addresses of three people in hopes to start some sort of letter writing and friendship. Clever way to instigate some letter writing. I was able to do that with one person for a few years. That was the equivalent of today’s kids exchanging Snapchat accounts.


Anybody out there know a thing or three about birds?

For several weeks I know of a bird, a female cardinal, that taps on windows of my house in the morning. It’s like a living alarm clock as the tapping starts before 6 a.m. The bird can go back and forth between two windows. One is a bathroom window and the other is the window in the dining room, all on the same side of the house; the west side, if that means anything.

It’s annoying.

The theory is the bird somehow sees its reflection in the window and tries to interact with its reflection, like it’s another, actual bird. A few others I know who have had the same problem suggested hanging sheets of aluminum foil near the window to maybe somehow distract the bird’s attention away from the window. Fortunately, a bush is near the bathroom window. Sheets of foil were hung from the bush branches. Unfortunately, the idea didn’t work. The bird still returned and tapped.

I’ve read where an owl decoy placed near the window can help. But others have said after a few days, the birds realize the owl is fake and return to tapping on the glass.

Near the dining room window is a place to hang a bird feeder. I’ve wondered if that would be a better distraction to the bird. It would probably attract more birds, but the seed would be more appealing than the window.

I like birds. They are probably my favorite animal (what a little kid thing to say).

I was most impressed by the bird show at Sea World (of all places) in San Diego many years ago. Pretty cool to hear the “whoosh” of a predator bird just over the top of your head flying from one handler to another in the show arena. When I worked in Burlington in 2009, a restaurant near the Mississippi River had seats in front of large windows so you could see bald eagles during their winter migration. Fascinating to see them sit on edges of chunks of ice on the river waiting for fish to come to the surface so the eagles have something to dine.

I don’t want to hurt the cardinal. I just want it to have something else to do, preferably someplace else, at that time of morning.

If you have had the same problem, and know of a solution that works, please email me at Thanks

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.