Blackbirds Chasing A Hawk

6-8-2017

Sitting on the porch in a rocking chair enjoying the peaceful afternoon, watching the chipmunks and chickadees on the bird feeder. Suddenly a large brown blur whizzes by, the animals instantly scatter and hide. The blur banks sharply sideways, furiously flapping its wings, narrowly missing the feeder and then the porch railing. Right behind the sharp shinned hawk are two black birds, squawking their displeasure. They chase the hawk up into the maple tree by the driveway, where he tarries only a moment to catch a breath between the hectoring blackbirds, before dipping off the branch swinging low over the yard, then gaining altitude and flying out over the back hill out of sight. Once the hawk goes higher up and away from the yard, the blackbirds glide back and the as the tranquility returns to the neighborhood.

Baltimore Oriel On The Feeder

5-25-2017

I knew they were back, having heard their melodious call in the woods and seen fleeting glimpse of bright orange in the trees. As I was walking through the living room I happened to glance out the front window and there one was, perched on the bird feeder eating orange delight suet. I stood transfixed, having never seen on eon the feeders before. Bright orange breast, black head and black and white wings, pecking serenely at the gooey suet cage. He stayed a long time eating his fill as I watched him. Oh spring rejoices and summer is close on its heals!

First Rose Breasted Grosbeak

5-20-2017

I love watching week by week as all the different bird species return from wherever they spend the cold winter months. Today, the sky is overcast, the new spring leaves persist in shining with yellow green perfection, grass is growing profusely, flowers are blooming, and I am doing housework. Cats in the front picture window catch my attention, I follow their unwavering gaze out to the bird feeders in the front lawn. Perched, bright and beautiful is a male Rose Breasted Grosbeak, pecking seed for his meal. Black head, white belly, black and white wing bars, and as suggested and large beak and a bright red chest. The females are subdued, brown and white and never far away from the males. This to me is more of a sign of spring’s arrival than the typical robin. They show up when it’s still snowing, but a Rose Breasted Grosbeak means summer is on its way!

The Birds Are Back

3-7-2017

Morning, partly cloudy, cats are in the window watching the birds on the feeders. I’m running late as usual, my head is never on straight in the morning, and there is always one more thing to do! I was wondering what to pack for lunch and Jonathan asks “What’s this bird with the green head?” I’m thinking there are no birds with green heads around here. So I go look. The identification book calls them boat tailed grackles, and the show up in early spring. You know winter is almost over when they arrive! So here is this bird on top of the feeder, showing off for all to see, about the size of a blue jay, maybe a little bigger, jet black. The sun slides from behind a cloud and his head glimmers a dazzling iridescent dark black green, his wings a dark black indigo. He is a fluttering black rainbow shimmering in the sunlight. Harbinger of spring, wild and free, let me fly with you into those warm summer days!

Crows

2-13-2017

Two days of snow fall, swirling, heavy flakes pilling up by the billions, inches upon inches, grey sky, grey clouds, grey days, grey snow mounds covering everything. Two dark cats silhouetted in the window, one large, fat and spread out on the windowsill, the other small, lithe, and prancing, both riveted on a shivering fluffy red squirrel perched on the railing. Blue Jays, Chickadees, Mourning Doves, and Juncos crowd the feeder, a flurry of wings and blowing snowflakes. Two large jet black crows drop down out of the trees across the road, strut over the plowed street, hop up the plowed snow lump, and start traversing the yard toward the commotion. Their feet sink into the thick snow blanket, tails leaving waggely drag marks behind them. The the feeder is instantly deserted as a gust of fierce wind tears down the hollow, pulling blinding snow streaking into the faces of the crows. They lean in, close their eyes, as wind whips their feathers. They struggle a few moments then in unison, lift their wings, let the wind pull them up and out of the biting streaming snow. They coast, glide, dip and wobble on the gale, then alight in a tree top as if it were the simplest thing. For them it is. Even in a winter storm, the crows have an elegant majesty, the secret of effortless flight.

Good Morning

2-5-2017

Dozing, wanting more sleep, knowing I need to get up NOW or I will be late to work. One peacefully slumbering cat curled at my tummy using her mind powers to change my mind and stay with her. Drag myself out of the warm soft, snugly flannel sheets, groggy as feet hit the cold hard floor, legs don’t want to go downstairs, but have no choice. Blearily notice two cats on the window sill, attention on the bird feeder in the front yard. Stumble by, headed for the coffee pot, brain slowly interprets “squirrel” after glancing out the big picture window. So I turn around to take a better look. It is always amusing to watch the cats watch squirrels! This one is a small, shivering red squirrel perched on the porch railing. It makes a perfect picture: rusty fluffy tail twitching body and head bouncing with every taunting squeak, silhouetted against the blue snow of early morning twilight. Both cats are ready to pounce, tails swishing in agitation, whiskers and ears at standing rigid attention, hind legs tensed, fur ruffled, lips smacking, eyes following every nuance of that teasing squirrel. I step closer to see the whole scene. On the ground beneath the feeders are blue jays squabbling over black oil seed scattered on the snow. There among them, almost glowing in his brilliance against the whiteness of the snow covered ground, is one bright vibrant red cardinal. I stand mesmerized until he flies away meeting his orange beaked brown mate in the bare trees across the road.