No bird-brained animals in my backyard

Published 7:30 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

The blinds stood open on the sun porch. Sunshine flooded the room. As I sat at the breakfast table, bleary-eyed and minus my glasses, I noticed two stalks a few feet from the back yard fence. Something dark was next to them. Two stalks? Something dark? I knew they weren’t there the day before. I blinked. Yes, I was still bleary-eyed. Whatever the stalks and dark thing were, they stayed in place.

I reached for the binoculars I kept handy by the table. Ah Ha! I spotted my target. The stalks were ears protruding from the head of a brown, cottontail rabbit. The dark object a foot or so away was another cottontail. They remained motionless until the one with the stalk ears hopped behind a dirt pile. Appearing unconcerned, the other soon followed.

I sighed enjoying a serene sight, but about then, something evil crept into that supposed back yard paradise, taking the shape of a cat on the prey for a feathered morsel. That morning I interrupted a plump beautiful feline that had invited itself in. The sly animal sat poised to spring upon an unsuspecting bird in some bushes. I hissed at it and clapped my hands until it grudgingly moved outside the fence.

Suddenly when I  lingered over dessert at lunchtime, there was a flurry in the cherry tree … a flash of blue and white, followed by a whir of red sailed among the branches. Two beautiful cardinals had a feisty blue jay on the run. It looked like old bully blue jay had met its match. Later one landed near a feeder and began pecking the bits of food some finches had knocked on the ground. A perky male cardinal whipped in and stationed itself near the jay. Not once did the jay challenge its authority. I enjoyed this, since I have often seen blue jays disrupt an otherwise peaceful gathering of birds feasting at my back yard feeders.

Someone told me that hummingbirds will show up at feeders when certain flowers are in bloom. Since I failed to put out my humming feeders this year, I am looking forward to get some action there in 2022. In the meantime, the bright red and yellow feeder has not gone unnoticed. A bird I could not identify hopped onto one of the little perches, took a look and flew off. Maybe it will return and watch the hummers, as did a Rose breasted Grosbeak that I read about in a magazine. It kept returning and watching hummingbirds feed from an inverted glass bottle with a spout until it learned the technique. Then it successfully hovered over the feeder and drew out the sweet; liquid with its tongue.

By watching and hearing and witnessing such antics staged by critters and birds in my back yard, terms such as “dumb animals” and “bird brained” no longer mean the same to me.