Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mockingbird wisdom

Spring is thought to be the time for babies on the farm, but I'm finding that spring has run into summer.  While cutting a future pasture last week, I flushed a spotted fawn who scampered into a patch of uncut grass before I could snap a picture.  One baby accounted for.

I mentioned several week ago that a mockingbird seemed to be building a nest in a basket by my back door.  Well, she did.
Mama mockingbird sits on her nest.
My first clue was her head poking up from the basket.  When I moved closer to the door, she flew away and I took the opportunity to peer into the basket.
Apparently, mockingbird eggs are also
robins-egg blue . . .  with brown spots.
Four beautiful eggs were nestled into the grassy nest.  Just a few minutes later, she swooped near me to announce her return.  Earlier this week, I noticed she was no longer sitting on her nest, but making several trips a day.  I waited until she had departed and peeked into the basket.
The babies are difficult to see.
Sure enough, the eggs had been replaced by furry charcoal blobs.  I accidentally bumped the baker's rack and was received a pleasant surprise.
Feed me!
Four bright yellow beaks gaped open, waiting to be filled!  Moments later, I heard chipping noises and both mockingbirds returned, one with something dangling from her beak.  Obviously, it was dinnertime.  I slipped back inside and watched from a discreet distance while she stuffed the morsel into the hungry mouths.  And so it has gone, several times an hour, since then.
Another interested observer.
In the meantime, another member of the household has noticed the activity:  Lexi the cat.  She lingers at the door, meowing at her prey.  Despite her pleas, I have not allowed her onto the porch.  She has figured out the alternative route around the house, and the mockingbirds are targeting her.  And us.

You may remember that, last year, barn swallows nested on the ceiling fan on the back porch.  They were timid, and avoided us whenever possible.  The mockingbirds, predictably, are more aggressive:  they will "dive-bomb" us (and Lexi) whenever we are near the nest or on the north side of the house.  While the Resident Dragon is gentle-hearted with animals, I did spot him looking for a tennis racket.

All of this serves to remind me that I share this farm with many other creatures.  Some are cute, but many are destructive, and even dangerous.  Each has its place in this little microclimate of mine.  So do I, and it's a constant struggle to maintain my place.  But I've noticed that knowing about my fellow inhabitants makes the struggle a bit less difficult.

Learning.  Everything seems to return to learning.

And that's a good thing.

What about you?  What are you learning about your Savory life?


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