Make its day
Friday April 06th 2012, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Family,Wildlife

With a few tiger pictures for Lene among the others, courtesy of Kim, Richard and Parker.

A bird day here.

Everybody scatters, even the squirrels, when a jay flies in; they have long sharp beaks and bossy tempers and they’re happy to use them. I’ve seen them threaten a cowed squirrel, hopping after it, neck outstretched. Like their cousins the crows, they will steal and eat the young out of other birds’ nests.

I have endangered Bewick’s wrens. Find another yard. Although, the hawks’ presence does seem to have encouraged the jays to nest further away these days.

One flew in to the wooden box yesterday.

Not your suet. Scram.

It came back and I opened the door and it veered off. And again (as I stood there, curious). And again, like a game of hide and seek.

I did not expect what happened next: a fight among the leaves as it attacked a towhee in a tree, and suddenly the towhee fell straight down to the ground.

I don’t know if the robin-size bird was defending its nest or just itself, but to me it was a shock–birds just don’t go that direction that way.

Stunned, it couldn’t believe it either–and then it picked itself up and flew for freedom. Oh good.

What was clearly that same towhee showed up a few hours later, to that wooden box, where its favorite was: the suet cake crumbles. Maybe the jay attacked it out of jealousy: it has seen who’s allowed where.

But the brown bird was clearly hurt. It was trying to scoot on its belly and one foot, using the other only if it really really had to, and when it flew it looked a little tilted and I thought, well, that one’s hawkmeat, poor thing.

It came back today. It was trying its foot out gingerly from time to time, actually using it a little. Hop? A little lopsided, but doable.

A few hours later, it looked even better.

Cool. I wish I could heal that much that fast. Plucky little thing.

And then suddenly another towhee flew in.

The first immediately planted both feet flat on the box and started doing the I am a studly puffball! routine of Spring, pouffing its feathers, wiggling its wings and craving attention.

Okay, I guess I don’t have to worry about that one so much.

And then in the afternoon it was the doves’ time to put on a show. Mourning doves produce young pretty much all year round in our climate, a food factory for the predators, and one was small, I’m guessing barely fledged.

And yet it bossed the other two larger ones that showed up with it. They played leapfrog twice to scramble away from it.

Triumphant, it sat down on the narrow wooden plank separating two blocks of the patio floor, surveying its domain, and then after awhile simply blending in with the concrete.

It didn’t notice or didn’t know enough to note that the squirrel had gone. The birdfeeders were empty. Nobody was there but one very young mourning dove, claiming the world as far as it could see.

I knew what that means even if it didn’t. I looked around, hoping to see it–and then suddenly felt I was getting in the way of dinner.  After all, the female’s pretty shy.

Oh, okay.

And so I went off out of sight to the other end of the house for a few minutes and came back.

The bossy little dove was gone.

Soft little dove feathers decorated the top of the box and below it.

And the peaceable towhees lived to tell of the one that got away.

5 Comments so far
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love the pictures of Parker with the peacock — I wonder how he would have reacted if the peacock had spread his lovely tail

Comment by Bev 04.07.12 @ 8:32 am

No need to seek drama on reality television, is there?

Oh, those sweet pictures of Parker. Those sturdy little denim-clad legs just do me in!

Comment by twinsetellen 04.07.12 @ 8:48 am

Parker, don’t step on the ‘Christmas tree!’ Wow, you have your own private wildlife show!

Comment by Don Meyer 04.07.12 @ 9:54 am

The photos reminded me of two friends from my childhood. One is local and I just saw her husband a couple of weeks ago… her parents had PEACOCKS. Many. Screaming. Ugh. (But gee, have you ever seen prettier feathers?)

The other, from my Warrenton teens, had raised a lion cub, which they surrendered to a zoo just before I met them…

Comment by Channon 04.07.12 @ 12:06 pm

It looks to me like the peacock- or possibly Parker- had a narrow escape. I don’t think anyone would have been happy if he’d managed to run right up to the peacock! Good thing his mom was on top of it!

Comment by RobinH 04.09.12 @ 10:21 am

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