"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Not On My Watch

I watched, hoping. I saw the flutter of blue going in and out of the box by the garden, and I didn't want to leave until I knew for sure. This box has housed the blue birds before, but more often than not, the swallows chase them out and take over. And when the bluebirds do win this box, it has usually been the western bluebirds, rather than our state bird, the mountain bluebird.

I usually don't worry too much about this box. When my husband first put it up, he had added a little perch to the front of it, just under the opening. His intentions were good, but the bluebirds prefer a box without a perch. I believe this is out of their innate, instinctive defense of their home. It hasn't bothered me that they don't nest here, because I have 3 other boxes located around my yard, and in my mind, the swallows could just have this box and keep them from bothering my other boxes.

But this time, as I watched, I became very excited. It was the mountains that were taking claim to this home this year. Both the mama and the daddy were there, and it appeared they had been there awhile. I was pretty sure the home was now theirs.

A few days later, I saw some swallows circling the box. Now swallows can be very aggressive and usually do win the battle. But when it comes to protecting a nest already established, the mountains can be aggressive as well in protecting it. I made up my mind to watch carefully for a few days, so I would know. Not that I could have done anything about a swallow take over. But I wanted to know for my own peace of mind. I didn't want anything to happen on my watch. Early in the morning, the next day, I saw the mountains come out of the box and the swallows were no where to be found. A few days later, nothing had changed. It looks like this year, the mountains won, and I couldn't be happier.

It's  a good year for birds. They came early and they are very prevalent. Mr. Flicker is back and he is as entertaining as ever. I have only heard him pecking at the house once, so that is a relief. This morning I heard that distinct sound, but I couldn't tell from where it was coming. I was just glad it wasn't on our house. I guess in reality that is something I should prevent from happening. My husband cares more than me. For some strange reason, I love hearing that sound...even on my house.

I had seen the flicker some time ago, but yesterday, I saw him high up on a telephone pole - just sitting there, almost regally.  I looked again and noticed there was a mourning dove sitting there with him. I wished I had my camera, but I knew if I went to get it, they would be gone by the time I got back. So I just continued to watch, amazed at the close proximity of the two birds, while they just sat there not bothering each other. Finally, the mourning dove flew away and the flicker soon followed. I chuckled in wonderment, as a 2nd mourning dove then left the pole. I hadn't seen him as he sat there with the other two. What in the world!! I suspect Mr. Flicker was having a bit of fun, coming between the two love birds. That's just my imaginative guess. I really have no clue why those 3 birds were sharing the same pole that morning. I just knew it was one more antic to entertain me from my favorite Mr. Flicker. And I was glad to see some mourning doves were back; they have been conspicuously absent the last few years. I had heard them from the woods across the street a few days ago, and I was hoping they would hang around. I also heard them, this morning, from my open window after Mr. Flicker had awakened me.

Later, that same day, he made me laugh right out loud. I have a bird feeder in the center of my yard. The previous owners had put it there, along with a bird bath, that has since been broken due to the weight of the snow one year. But anyway, this feeder is getting old because it has been there so long. It looks like a little house, and "the roof" of this feeder lifts up to allow one to put the seed in. Well more often than not, "the roof "is now left open due to the blowing wind and weakening hinges. Mr. Flicker visited that afternoon. He was not content to eat the seed from the bottom screen trays, which are created for them to eat easily. No, not my guy. He sat at the top of the feeder trying to eat, and when he wasn't successful he crawled right down into the feeder, eating to his hearts content, with only his tail feathers sticking out of the top. This mister always makes me laugh.

The meadowlarks have also been abundant this year; not only audibly, but visually. Typically, I don't see the meadowlarks as often as I hear them. But they, too, have been hanging around showing off for me. Well, they don't "show off" like the flickers, but they have made an appearance or two and that pleases me very much. But I would be satisfied to only hear them sing.

At least one of my other boxes has a pair of westerns in it, and the box I call the "death box" is hosting the sparrows this year. I lost a daddy western out of that box a few years ago, and the bluebirds have not been back to it, even though I tried to clean it well. I am happy to see the sparrows have seen fit to make a home there this year, allowing the mountains to have the other box.

Ahhh, nature.

There are at least one set of killdeer. I think last year, or maybe the year before, there were a ton of them. I love these birds too, but they can be so noisy, and I worried about them so much after learning their warning call. It seemed it filled the pasture that year, because there were so many of them. I would listen every morning to that call, just so I knew they were still there. And really, I can't do anything to protect them. I could only pray. And yes, I prayed for all those little baby killdeer and their mamas. I certainly didn't want anything happening to them on my watch.

Yes, some how I think the Lord has given me watch. There is not a lot I can do, but I care for them the best I can. NO more cats. (I have to remind myself of that, periodically.) Keep the boxes clean. Keep the boxes in a safe, secure area so the little fledglings will be safe on their first fly out of the nest. I keep them watered with a little bird bath Matthew bought for me, and of course they use the sprinklers. I keep seed in a bird feeder and try to keep it full. That's the most that I can do. And I can watch. God has given me "watch". It is for my own joy, I know...but still, I try my hardest to not let anything happen on my watch.


*x in jpg name denotes not my image.