Sunday, January 31, 2016

For The Birds

While preparing the roast beast for Sunday dinner, I heard Audrey call from the living room: "Girls, come here, quietly. Stephen, you might want to to see this too."

Intrigued, we made our way to the front door, where Audrey stood, looking outside and down at the area beside our front walkways. "He's a brave little fellow," she said, "or deaf, maybe..."

A small bird hopped amongst the pine needles and cones not two feet from where she stood. "I didn't even see him at first," she explained, "I was shaking my dust cloth out right over his head and he just didn't care."

Unperturbed, despite the fact that all four of us were now on the front step observing him, the tiny creature continued his pecking, no doubt looking for food. The scene was made all the more endearing by the fact that the snowfall had picked up, making it look even more wintry than it actually was. Watching him wrest some kind of morsel from one of Goliath's enormous cones, the bane of my eavestroughs, I commented, "Must be pretty hungry to let us stand so close." And that was all the incentive Glory needed, and she quickly but smoothly made her way back indoors.

I watched for a little longer and returned to the kitchen, but before I could get back to work getting our baron of beef ready for the oven, I was distracted by the sight of Glory, clad only in her onesie and an oversized sweatshirt that had once been mine, busily extracting seeds from the bird feeder in the back yard.

Once she had what she felt to be a sufficient amount, she made her way around the house to the front, while I cut through, and was thus able to watch her slowly approach our tiny visitor. She gently scattered some of the seeds about onto the grass, the. crouched down warily about two feet away, and gingerly extended the hand full of food.

The minuscule avian was either completely discombobulated or simply a good judge of character, because Glory was clearly in his sight line, but he continued his feeding unabated and apparently undisturbed, despite her proximity.

He never jumped right into her hand like a Disney princess or anything, and didn't actually take any food from her open hand, but hopped about on either side of it, still feeding from the ground.

I did my best to get a picture of the little fellow, but his coloration blended him into the background very effectively, despite the amount of green and yellow visible in his plumage. Given the lack of variety in the types of birds we tend to see in our neighbourhood, I had initially assumed he was a sparrow, but upon further investigation, it seems more likely that this transient is some type of warbler (which sounds like a type of cricket pitch, but is not).

As I turned and began to make my way back into the house, Audrey urgently whispered "Look..."

I turned and saw that the bird was now right beside Glory's hand, close enough that she could feel the fluttering of his feathers as he rustled by.

Soon enough he had wandered away from her hand, and what with the ever present snowfall and the wind picking up, Glory carefully stood up and went inside.

The warbler is by no means an exotic bird, and his behaviour was not really extraordinary, but this small layover on a frosty day was a wondrous reminder of the world around us, and the mildly wild universe that continues on outside our climate controlled, wi-fi enriched environs.

1 comment:

  1. A cricket "bowl". The "pitch" is the field of play.