bunt sign

Friday, February 16, 2001

My birds don't get bread crumbs unless I'm at the stale end of a loaf. Then I usually open a sample spread on the side lawn, on the opposite side of the house from where I dispense the birdseed.

They hold out until I've gone back inside, but it doesn't take them long to make themselves comfortable at the banquet. I don't know what it is about bread crumbs, but the birds attack them as if they were laced with rum.

They don't seem to appreciate my attempt to give them tiny, birdy bite-sized portions, because it's the larger clumps that they go after, and then warily guard from their fellow feathered feasters. They'll carry a larger crumb around until they feel safe enough to put it down. Then they'll take a small bite and pick up what's left, in case another bird should take a fancy to it.

When it's all gone, so are they. I have to admit, I get a little jealous when I see some of my birds in someone else's yard. But they always come back.

Yesterday morning I heard loud twittering outside the bathroom window. I peeked through the blinds and saw a starling with a rather substantial weed in its mouth, looking straight at me. Then it flew up above the window, and I knew I might be in trouble.

dryer vent

The bird was apparently thinking of building a nest in the dryer vent under the eave. It must have been discouraged, because I could see no sign of any actual activity. I know that starlings will look for any hole in a tree or recessed area in a building for nesting.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading in the loft late one afternoon when I heard fluttering outside the window. It was a black phoebe that hovered for a second, then landed somewhere up in the eaves where I couldn't see it. I know that area has been a nesting place before, because I flushed out an empty one late last fall.

It's still early enough in the season to discourage them; once an egg appears, the nests are protected by law. I'm going to have to keep an eye out.

In the afternoon yesterday, I saw this cat prancing around from the side of the house with a gray mouse dangling from its mouth.


The cat made itself comfortable off the corner of the back porch and proceeded to make short work of its meal. It then looked around, as if to say "is that all there is," and walked jauntily into the neighbor's yard.

Cats are welcome here, especially if they clean up the rodent population. There's a certain gopher who has the run of my yard, and I would not flinch to see him eaten. (Okay, I might flinch. I probably wouldn't even watch. But I definitely wouldn't mourn.)

I don't even mind if a cat takes out a bird now and again, although I haven't seen it happen. It is the natural order, isn't it? And it's certainly not my place to come between a carnivore and its prey. I'm the interloper here, after all.

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Bob, And If I Die Before I Wake, February 16, Airport

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And when we die we say we'll catch some blackbird's wings
And we will fly away together
Come some sweet bluebonnet spring.