Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Cannot for the Life of Me, etc.

There are 50 of these goldfinches that eat black nyjer seed at my thistle-give-away program on the front porch all the do-dah day. The seed is shipped in from Africa, costs $30 /bag, and damn if the birds can't pound it all down in a month. (Not bad getting through a month on a $30 bag any more when you think on how things used to be. Ahem!)

I can sit with them, these goldies, three feet away in a chair when there are 30 or 40 munching away. Some are gold with whited bellies. I would probably be one of them just to be different. Wonder if there's a sound the birds make that identifies the white bellies, or those all-greenie yellow dudes.

With birds, all talk is cheep.

(Author's Note: Sorry.)

It goes on--the chow line -- from first light to dark. As soon as I can see, one of them is already anchored to the sock.

When they're all on the feeder, it's exhilarating. (OK, not quite like bullfighting). But there is a stillness just past dawn where I hear them cracking open the seed and dropping the hulls to the ground and the wind comes up the canyon from the delta and rattles the leaves. If I move my arms, off go the finches. And they won't come back until one gets the nerve to fly on over in a minute or so. Then, they swoop back in. You can hear the changes in wing rpm as they brake, hover and land. They eventually spook themselves and fly off in a burst. Or I can wave at them. They need to know the kind of man they're dealing with.

I feed them through a mesh sock about four feet long. It sways like a lanyard in the wind, or jerks when a bird slams in without care. When the seed is low they fight, pecking beak-to-beak in midair, whirring and spitting, playing chicken. But in the rain, they huddle under the porch and lap the entire surface of the sock in wings, toasty dry. Love and tolerance.

More about them here.

I am not decidedly not bored. I assure you. I have routine and important things I do every day that aren't bird-related. This is not a cry for help, nor will you be asked to buy anything.


will said...

Okay, that's for the birds. At least you don't have put out a sack of mice for hawks and a creel of trout for eagles.

Otherwise, it's good to hear from you.

Mark R. said...

It has been far too long since your last post. I miss your written word. I miss speaking to you too, but reading your work is different. Did that make any sense? Problem I've been having lately. What was I saying?

Jennifer said...

I am relieved to hear that you are not bored! Actually, I am just happy to read this, to see that you are still out there observing and describing in a poetic kind of way.