Each year I promise myself and anyone concerned, not to make myself one with the outdoor world as Spring turns into Summer. Spring has a gravitational pull like few others, and only becomes stronger as summer dawns. I truly intend each year to divide my time wisely between outdoor activity and indoor obligations. Just as surely as the sun rises earlier and earlier, I become more and more negligent of my pledge. Actually, ‘derelict’ may be a more adequate description of my summer self. To make things worse this year, our backyard population of House Wrens is captivating.
Now, I’m fully aware of one’s reality being one’s perception, so if for some inexplicable reason you aren’t fascinated by all this nature activity or if you do not hear the call of the wild, perhaps you can relate to some other distraction keeping you from being all you think you should be. You will likely think I am loony (and you’d be partly correct) but it’s kind of that trash and treasure idea – it’s all in our perception. My reality, I’m not getting any work done and it’s nature’s fault!
Thinking the rainy days would be my redemption time to clean, or write, or even squeeze in some extra reading, was folly. I refuse, however, to accept all the blame. April showers brought us amazing May flowers. Obviously the birds and bees thought so too, for I have been like a kid at Christmas watching our feathered friends. I go from fascination to frustration as I watch and defend them. My most recent angst has been a Sparrow Hawk who seems to think our Purple Martins came from Brazil just for his or her benefit. Judging by the tenacity, I’d say it’s a she, with a family of her own to feed. That’s beside the point. Aren’t there enough rodents out and about to feed a host of hawks?! Seriously, I’m about a shotgun shell away from committing a crime! On Sunday morning we witnessed said hawk taking an adult Martin down, in our backyard, from her own apartment house. I cried. The dirty bird better be glad it was Sunday! But I digress; I was about to tell you about the wrens, wasn’t I.
Six feet from my sunroom window hangs what remains of a wind chime. It is fashioned like a retro coffeepot, with a birdhouse door and a tiny little awning over the perch. The wrens found it desirable so I cut off the chimes and let them have it. This year it became the chosen one; of the dummy nests created by Mr. Wren, Mrs. Wren chose this one for real. I’ve been sitting in the window, rain or shine, watching them finish, fend off and feed. They are adorable. Other than one seeming a bit smaller than the other, the male and female are identical. They, and another couple near my rose garden, have sung their little hearts out all spring and still sing about anything from “here’s another bug my dear” to “oh what a beautiful morning”! As I write, one of the coffeepot residents has landed on a shepherd’s hook, looks into my window and sings WITH bug in beak, as if to say, “be sure you mention how hard I work”! As one waits for the other to feed their babies, his little wings are in a constant flutter, allowing him to hover a moment for his turn to hand off the groceries. Then he is off on another cross-country mission (across the soybean field to the fence row) for another haul.
From early spring until now, we have enjoyed, besides the swallows and wrens, a daily visit from geese and an occasional Great Blue Heron to our pond, so I get to see them from the sunroom too. We have had gold, purple and house finches; Robins, Mockingbirds, Bob Whites, Red-winged Blackbirds, Bluejays, Cardinals, Hummingbirds and the prettiest little Chipping Sparrows. My favorite is the Eastern Bluebird who has rights to a box I check and protect the best I can. These are the backyard guests that keep me spellbound.
I hate the English house sparrow so much that I will make no further mention of its name. Starlings have been less of a pest this year, but still do some damage. And now the hawk. But isn’t that life? We each see and strive to meet our own needs. Why oh why can’t we all be the gentle melodious Bluebird who just takes care of his own, instead of the screaming predator who kills and maims members of its own class. I know, I know, it’s nature. Not even Mother Nature can please everyone every time. Still, given the pleasures versus the pain, I think she is quite a lovely lady, our Mother Nature!
As I close, a Goldfinch whistling “hey you, hey you”, has joined our wrens in the Crepe Myrtle that shades and protects the coffeepot house. They are completely at peace with each other and my heart swoons. It is nearly noon, and my floors are tracked with tennis shoe prints and dry grass clippings; the furniture is dusty and I have no meal planned. The lawn needs mowing today so there is a multitude of clover and dandelion blooms making happy bees out there. Blame it on the rain. Oh no! An EHS just attempted to enter the wren’s abode! Just as I ran to knock on the window to scare it off, a beautiful blaze of blue swooped down and did the job for me. After a few minutes of peering out her port hole, Mrs. Wren escapes to continue doing what she does, safe and sound. Bluebird, you are my hero!!
Thursdays used to be my productive days. I’m afraid I’ve done it again! Happy watching!