• Bird stories abound. Weird sounds were heard in a basement and, on further investigation, a beautiful male mallard was discovered – a little ruffled-looking but seemingly unscathed. He had emulated Santa Claus by coming down the chimney of the furnace and exiting by the flap.

• It may be a little late this year to entice Baltimore Orioles to nest in your garden but it has been proven that, apart from hummingbird and oriole feeders, an orange, cut in half and hung up outside, is an irresistible attraction to these colourful orange and black birds.

• What a joy to watch a Blue Jay splashing around and displacing a great deal of water in a bird bath. He looked very pleased with himself and ready to find himself a mate now that he was showered and groomed. Bird baths should be regularly cleaned and filled as birds are often searching for water sources.

• Imagine the audacity of going kayaking with your ten-year-old daughter and taking your yellow Labrador along for the ride. One shift of weight by the dog and the craft tipped over sending all its occupants into the icy water. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the only set of car keys disappeared into the murky depths of the lake. A lesson was learned the hard way that anything of value should be tied to your body.

• Recently, a neighbour had a flat tire on Highway 10. He immediately pulled onto the shoulder to avoid damage to the rim. No one is permitted to change a tire on a highway. Lessons learned: Have a phone, preferably a smartphone, to call for help and to identify your location, otherwise you must wait for a Quebec Roadside Safety Officer to call in your problem. The tow truck will tow you to the nearest exit, change or repair the tire or tow you to a garage. The only wrinkle is that a tow truck is restricted to carrying two passengers, but the safety officer can carry one. Preferably, have a Roadside Assistance program, or join the CAA. If you have neither, call 911.