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Bird Update

Just thought I’d report on some unexpected developments the last couple of days. Maybe where you are this is ordinary, but hereabouts it seemed worth paying attention to.

Two mornings ago, I was in the den when I saw a crow fluttering. He had decided to land on our rhododendron, not the most promising tree to alight on. The branch responded about as you’d expect, bouncing up and down vigorously. But then came the best part. A hummingbird, apparently sharing my doubt about the sensibleness of the crow’s decision, flew over, hovered about 18 inches in front of the crow, and taunted him. Okay, I’m anthropomorphizing a bit here, but the hummingbird did hover, staring right at the crow. And the crow, surely feeling embarrassed, took off after about 7 or 8 seconds of taunting, landing an an almost-as-ridiculous location on the steep sloping edge of our neighbor’s roof. The hummingbird raced up that way, perhaps for another round of taunting, then flitted across the street.

That afternoon, I heard Joel running down the stairs from the upper floor and out the back door. I went into the kitchen to investigate and saw him making circles in place, looking up at the sky. “Eagle?” I called to him. “Eagle?” Then a big shadow passed over him and my question mark changed to an exclamation point. “Eagle!” I still hadn’t seen it, but the shadow didn’t leave much room for doubt. I ran out too, and just then Joel, who had moved to the edge of our backyard for a more open view, saw the eagle heading north. I joined him in time to catch the last part of the eagle’s flight over the golf course, about 20 feet up.

Yesterday morning, in the den again, I looked out and saw a greenish-gray hummingbird sitting on one of the conical metal structures that support our tomato plants. He didn’t seem in any particular hurry to get going. I wasn’t in much of a hurry either, so I just watched as he did that birdy thing, bending his neck and preening his chest and wing feathers. I should be so flexible. And what a beak he had! An excellent preener. In something of a role reversal, he outlasted me. After a few minutes, I moved on.

Last night, I was outside on the patio reading when I heard the beat of approaching wings. By the time I looked up, I caught the briefest glimpse of an eagle overhead, flying just above me, parallel to the house. I ran out to spot him, but he didn’t come back our way. Not on my watch anyway.

That’s about it on the bird front. It would help if I had managed to capture any of these moments with my camera. In the absence of a photographic record, I have put a random hummingbird photo at the top.

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Categories: Birds
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