The Garden Birds
My favorite time of year. Time to build a new home from fluff out of the dryer vent, discarded bits of yarn from old sweaters; weave in a few twigs and bits of lint that flutter down from clothes pinned on the Gardener’s line. Sometimes I get lucky and find a loose thread on a cloth diaper. That’s the ultimate find for a nest-builder.
Ah, what’s that smell? My mate – in his pointed red fedora and lush black beard – has brought me a gobbet of suet sprinkled with seed! The slick and creamy delicacy feels so deliciously decadent on my beak. What a good provider he is, the most handsome Cardinal in all the garden. He winks his limpid black eye at me and asks would I like to rub wings later. He gives me an affectionate beak tweak.
Several branches away a mad disharmony erupts between two odious Blue Jays – their crests erect, blue and black feathers engaged in a broiling rustle. They are in a duel over a female. What a ridiculous exhibition. I turn away.
An iridescent rainbow cascades past my branch. Ah, the Hummers. How lovely their costumes; they are a hasty parade of amethyst, ruby, sapphire, and jade. Rather ungainly beaks they have, making them the brunt of good-natured teasing. Their fluttering creates the most delicious breeze. I’d invite them in for respite, but our tastes are incompatible.
There is nasty business going on down in the city of bugs, among the rubbish of the compost. Most distressing. By Avian Law, we are not permitted to interfere. We must observe and silence our tweets. Their preposterous squabbles create great disorder and infect my dreams. The most recent disturbance was muffled at this distance. We have now gotten twitterings of the verdict and the horrifying news of the explosion from the orange-breasted Robins and the acrobatic Finches (I admit that I am often jealous of the Finches – the way they are able to hang upside down. What a merriment that must be!).
Dour-looking Crows roost on the wire adjacent to the Trellis. They wait for word from the grapevine about the filling of the bird feeder. The Crows will tell the Woodpeckers; the Woodpeckers will tack-tack the news for all to hear.
Such yummies our Gardener puts out for us – black sunflower seeds, safflower, cracked corn, peanuts, an occasional handful of currants. Droves of Mockingbirds and Thrashers flutter in when she sets out a halved apple or other chopped fruits. I do not care for the fruits – they wreak havoc on my delicate digestion.
Our Gardener scrubbed and re-filled the birdbath before the setting of yesterday’s sun. What a holiday atmosphere this creates! Jump in! The water is fine, so fine. The juveniles are reprimanded by their mothers about deposits recklessly left. They are sent home with quiet dispatch.
A squeal from the portal – here she comes! The Gardener is coming! Several of our Avian persuasion beat wing away from the suet, and the bathers retreat. The rest of us in the branches are quiet, waiting for today’s banquet to appear. I observe, attentively, smacking my beak.
She is so kind, our Gardener, so respectful.
She amuses me when she whistles. I do not understand one word. But bless her for trying.