Here are three little bird tales from our summer bird observations.
Learn to Love the Crows
Growing up in the country, my parents always told me the crows and magpies chased away the songbirds — therefore, we should not like the crows and magpies. They were dirty scavenger birds. Their loud and scratchy “caw-caw-caw” sound drowned out meadowlark birdsongs, the crows ate the cat food we lovingly set out for our cats, Snap, Crackle and Pop, and they pecked at mom’s garden produce, ruining the food she worked so hard to grow.
There was nothing to like about crows. Until today.
Sitting in my office this morning, I could hear a cacophony of bird sounds — chickens clucking, crows “caw-ing” and a hawk screeching.
When I looked towards the barn, I could see a hawk perched high above our chicken coop in a tree, scoping out dinner. As the hawk started to swoop towards the coop for the kill, the crows would fly in and chased away the hawk.
This happened repeatedly until the hawk gave up and flew away.
I now believe crows are very social and observant creatures. I think they had fun toying with the hawk and foiling its hunt. It looked like a bird game played high above our unsuspecting, happy chickens.
I now must backtrack on my dislike of crows and give them a modicum of respect. Everything has a place in Nature! [Other than their striking black and white appearance, magpies have yet to endear themselves to me — but I’ll keep an open mind!]
Swallows on the Fencepost
Adam mounted our collection of birdhouses on the fenceposts of the pasture behind our house. It took a couple years, but we have finally a family of Swallows and a family of Pine Siskins living there. The parent birds come and go from their respective birdhouses bringing food, and when we walk by, we can hear the sweet “cheep cheeps” of the babies inside.
Swallows are beautiful birds with their glossy, purple-blue backs — the parent birds take turns, swooping and gliding effortlessly up, around and back down into the birdhouse, keeping a watchful eye on their young. We are careful not to get too close.
Our Little Peeping Tom (or Tomasina)
For about a week in late June, a female Goldfinch made repeated appearances at our north facing house windows. I nicknamed her Lady Goldfinch.
She would first appear at our bedroom window at 5 a.m., occasionally pecking at the glass and flapping her wings trying to get in. After a few days of waking with her at 5 a.m., I learned to shut our blinds to deter her early wake up call. We need our sleep!
Lady Goldfinch also liked to sit on the window sill of our upstairs family room, watching me do yoga, turning her head from side to side, eyes glued to my movements — kind of freaky, kind of fun to have a bird as my yoga buddy.
Inevitably, Lady Goldfinch would appear at our kitchen window at suppertime and just watch our human activity inside. We could walk right up to her at the window and she did not flinch. Was she a pet who escaped the birdcage? I don’t think so, but she was fearless nevertheless.
We all feel a certain attachment to our peeping Lady Goldfinch and keep an eye out for her. She hasn’t come to visit these last few days. Perhaps she’s tending a nest of babies? We hope she’s OK. As an aside, I filed my photos of her in my “Family 2019” file instead of my “home and yard” file. I think she endeared herself to us enough to be family!
Observing Nature reminds me that we are all fearfully, beautifully and wonderfully made, that each part of creation has a role to play — even the crows. Nature’s ecosystems are tenuously and delicately balanced, yet so utterly resilient.
We humans take up a lot of space on this Earth and use more than our share of its resources. How do we nourish ourselves and care for this beautiful planet and all that inhabits it?