Saturday, July 16, 2016

Outdoors -- Sweet Bird of Youth

We have had a good crop of young birds this year.

I watched my cardinal flying through downpours to feed his first chick, and now he's caring for the second brood.
The first chick is a male.
I see him around trying out this "living on his own" thing.
I hear him trying out his turf call.
He's quiet about  it, and he doesn't know the whole tune yet.

The blue jays likewise flashed around caring for their first.
I've seen him, pale and crestless, on my fence.
I've heard him trying out his "hawk" call.
Like most blue jays, he does it when there's no hawk around.
Then he loses himself in the role and keeps it up long after we all stop paying attention.

Wrennie's chick perches in my euonymus.
He doesn't have the adult repertoire of half a dozen calls.
The ones he does know, he's very tentative about.

Flickerjee's first chick showed up learning flight from his dad.
He has already started chattering, but only for short stretches.

A young blackbird keeps showing up at my birdbath.
Blackbird parents show their growing young how to splash in the bath.
He hasn't quite understood what it's all about yet,
especially the part about ducking his head under the water.

Half the summer is still left and barring a disaster, we'll have another crop of young birds trying their wings and their calls before it turns cold. 

Speaking of bird calls, I have started believing that folklore about blue jays screaming before a storm.
They tend to do it a day or two before the storm hits.
Saturday we had woodpeckers whinnying all morning from various places, one in my own back yard.
The folklore is, woodpeckers calling or drumming is a sign of a bad storm on the way.
Well, by 5:30 the sky had turned black and the wind came up, we got thunder and finally some rain.
It  wasn't bad considering I lived through Hurricane Isabel in this same house.
But gusts of wind coming through the open back door blew down a wall quilt.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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