Saturday, August 12, 2006


JUST A FEW MINUTES ago, about 2:30 in the afternoon, there was a wild soiree outside my window.

In the birdbath, a mourning dove, body low and wings spread, busying himself in the water, attracting much attention.

A little tufted titmouse flies over, the darling with her bravery and black eyes, darts from the birdbath rim, to the patio, to refuge on a palm frond before the pigeon concedes space. It jumps to the flagstones and forages sunflower seed.

Now a juvenile blue jay dives through the tender trees, to frighten the titmouse but not dislodge her. Because now, three others join her along with a black-capped chickadee, even more dimunitive than the titmouse.

There's a blur of yellow flying away. Now the blue jay, making a racket again. I see the black and white checkered back of the Hairy Woodpecker, and I'm exalting at these sightings, and in my joy there's the cutting recognition that they've returned. The birds have returned. Because there are no cats.

The yellow is back. I decide it's an American Goldfinch (female), curious by the sounds of the other birds. She watchs from the old wood fence for a few minutes and then speeds quickly into the treetops.

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