They long to be, close to you
Tuesday October 04th 2011, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Family,Wildlife

When I got up this morning, there was an upturned finch just outside the sliding glass door. I waited for her to scramble around and get on her way.

I puttered about while every now and then checking on her; mostly, she seemed to sleep, a good response when you need it. Still breathing.

A few hours later I scrounged up a small stick outside the front door, trying not to alarm her, and then returned to the back one, remembering what the peregrine folks taught about birds having a reflex to grab on with their feet; I tentatively held it just above hers, but that was as far as I was going to risk it: first, do no harm.

Nope. Not going to straighten out that way.

The morning gave way to noon when the female Cooper’s decided it was time and swooped in as if to land on the back of the patio chair–whereupon the aggressive gray squirrel stood up high and chased her off his territory! She swooped left, he charged at her (from the ground again, while I was going, As if!), then right again, and then the much-larger hawk went oh forget it and hauled off into the trees, where she disappeared as if becoming one with the branches.

About an hour later I finally made out a large wing as someone preened in there. Different spot. The squirrel was still grazing fallen seed below the chair.

Wait, said Richard later, you got the squirrel to go away by feeding it? Isn’t that, like, broken? I did, though, I threw some nuts out there to make it have too many and want to go hide them, but that was so much something it didn’t expect out of me that it didn’t see but the one that landed right at his nose. So I opened the door again and threw more, and again till he finally got the hint and grabbed the loot and ran.

I was afraid I’d scared the hawk by intruding into its outside space, if only with my arm. It held back.

Finally, the finch woke up and tried hard to roll itself over and finally get away.

That did it. Incoming!

It was the male. Coopernicus landed on the far side of the patio from me and eyed me warily.

I was ten feet from the finch, inside of course. I held very very still.

We proceeded to have a game of Mother May I. He hopped one step sideways. Sideways? Sideways.

Doves copy my blinking patterns, I’ve learned, it seems birds are clearly attuned to eyes: I closed mine just long enough not to be a challenge to his authority (I hoped).  He hopped one step sideways closer.

And, with a gait like a kindergartner learning to skip, raising his wings ever so slightly with each bounce, once more.

The finch saw it and its tail bent over hard, trying: Penelope Pitstop on the train tracks. (My dad’s old Army buddy, whom we met once in Carmel when the folks were here, was a Hanna-Barbara…producer, if I remember right.)

Another sideways hop. Stopped. Eyes steadily on mine. Mother May I?


One or two more like that and suddenly, Got it! His huge wings spread wide right in front of me and he flew with it in his feet to the fence.

Nope, too many squirrels here. Exit: stage right!

2 Comments so far
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At first I thought Coopernicus was coming in for the finch. No?

Watching nature in your own backyard is one thing; interacting with them is quite a step up!

Comment by Don Meyer 10.05.11 @ 9:12 am

The eyes have it.

Comment by Channon 10.05.11 @ 10:05 am

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