Friday, June 25, 2010

Bird Encounters

Shuffling around in the brush this morning, I annoyed a brown thrasher when I snapped a twig off a gargantuan heap of dead wild rose branches. Its severe golden-eyed countenance made me think better about the plans I had for that dead shrub and I ambled off to another corner of my property. I had seen that same thrasher briefly the day before on the opposite side of the cul-de-sac. It was a short glimpse as I drove by, but just long enough that I was hoping for another sighting to confirm its identity. My encounter this morning was brief again, only a few seconds, but very close--perhaps less than three feet. It was time enough to take in its solid, reddish brown back, creamy underside flecked with brown speckles, and that piercing eye. An odd clicking noise had brought the bird to my attention--it must have been its warning call--not particularly bird-like, but usual and loud enough to look up for it. Slightly larger than a robin, certainly not as big as a crow, but large enough to remember Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds", it demanded I surrender the space it claimed. I was glad to. It was a happy retreat.

At lunchtime today, I blended up some fresh strawberries into a smoothie. It looked refreshing in a red cup with a colorful straw piercing its creaminess. With the rest of my lunch I plopped into a chair on the deck and set my smoothie down on the little table next to me. Moments later I noticed a male ruby-throated hummingbird at the feeder. He sipped and then zipped off only to return again moments later. After another drink he whizzed over to me. Less than two feet away, he flew back and forth several times around my drink, hovering close to it. Had I not been so near, he would probably have dared an even closer look. The red color attracted it and perhaps the smell of the strawberries. In any case, after zigzagging a few times, he decided not to risk a closer inspection and zoomed off. I could almost hear the humming of his wings as he withdrew.

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