Hummingbirds and hawks

We’ve had a lot of activity in the back yard this month. Horace, our former resident hummingbird, was replaced as HHIC (Head Hummingbird in Charge) although he would conduct a raid on occasion for a meal. A ruby-headed hummer took over for a week or two but has been gone for a few weeks. Now we have a new one who lurks in the tree waiting to repel invaders. He (she?) has either a very dark blue or very dark green head and is a bit larger than Horace and more skittish. He won’t let me nearer than about ten feet before he whizzes into the tree where he scolds me. Horace would let me approach to five or six feet and if I was working near the feeder when he came to feed, he would ignore me even if I was within two feet. Horace chased the blue/green hummer away and seems to be in command again

About two months ago a pigeon showed up and is spending most of the day between our feeder and our neighbor’s feeder. We’ve never seen a solitary pigeon before – they usually appear in groups like at the courthouse. We can’t figure this bird out: Is he by nature a loner? Was he ostracized by his flock?

The hawk had been making daily forays through the yard and would often land on the rear patio wall to check for stragglers. Then last week a larger hawk appeared and hung around the yard all day until the first one returned and the two of them started to tussle; the first one hasn’t been seen since. The bully must be a female since the girls tend to be larger. The new one hasn’t yet figured out the planning required to carry out a successful raid on the back yard. The first one would attack from a low position, climb high enough to clear the oleanders, then dive into the yard and snatch a fleeing dove in its headlong flight to safety. The new one comes in too high and the doves are alerted to her presence before she gets near the yard.

I’ve been watching shows about British commandos and American Special Ops lately. Here’s a story I wrote (99 words so it qualifies for flash fiction):

The Commando

The commando entered the yard shortly after dark. Face darkened with camouflage paint, he wore a tiger-stripe shirt and pants and a bush hat to cover his blonde hair. He crept through the vegetation at the front of the house pausing to look for signs of activity. An empty bag was clutched in one hand, a knife, dripping red, in the other. A noise across the street startled him but he remained focused. He eased up the two steps to the unlit porch and knocked lightly on the door. It opened to reveal an elderly woman.

“Twick or tweet.”


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