Backyard biota

Watching our avian friends and the dynamics of bird life is interesting, often amusing, and sometimes confusing.

The solitary pigeon that hung around for a few months disappeared a few months ago. I wonder if he joined a flock or if he was a victim of the hawk.

Horace the hummingbird regained control of the feeder for a few months but has recently been replaced by Ruby, the red head, and Teal, a blue/green hummer. I see all three on occasion but never at the same time. If two show up at the same time, a spat ensues and one chases the other away. It happens so fast that I can’t tell which is chasing and which is fleeing.

The larger hawk still controls the predator ranks although she is not as strong of a hunter as the first one. I can tell by the lack of feathers in the yard, although since we changed the bird seed only a few doves show up so she has fewer available prey.

For some reason the yellow finches disappeared. A few show up on occasion, but we used to have a dozen or two hanging out in the yard. Just for the heck of it, I’ll clean the feeder and replace the seed today.

A few days ago we found a golden finch on the patio. He was on his belly and bleeding a little. We believe he may have been avoiding the hawk and flew into the kitchen window. We laid him in a shoe box and left him outside for a few hours. I removed the lid and he struggled to the top of the wall and stayed there until just before dark. The last time I checked he was gone. Sure hope the little guy survived.

This story has nothing to do with birds.


Butch sat squarely in the center of the classroom trying to decide what to say. He was Joe Average at the high school. No, that’s not true-he was good at everything, but not quite good enough to excel. Ranked in the top 25 or 50 in every sport, he was just not accomplished enough to make varsity in any sport. His 3.8 grade point average was strong although fifteen or twenty people were above him. Butch was everyone’s friend. He played pick-up ball with the jocks, debated with the brains, partied with the partiers, and dated some cute girls.
The assignment was to reveal a dream. Should I tell them I want to go to the Air Force Academy? Only one more before me.
The large room was stifling in the September heat and every window was open for ventilation. Traffic noise from the highway across the parking lot provided a constant hum and required the nineteen students to listen more carefully than usual for the accelerated class. Butch twitched his nose trying to gain control over Karen’s overdose of perfume. An airplane taking off from the local field rattled windows and drowned out Mrs. Hobbs for several minutes.
Lawrence rolled his wheelchair to the front of the class and spun around. He suffered from one of those strange childhood illnesses but had already proven the doctors wrong by outliving their predictions by several years. “My dream is to be a professional baseball player.”
Several girls giggled and several boys laughed outright. Mrs. Hobbs looked aghast.
Butch almost knocked over his desk when he abruptly jumped to his feet. He stomped to the front of the room next to Lawrence and glared at the members of the class. Butch had always protected the underdog and he liked Lawrence. He spoke much louder and faster than his usual slow drawl. “Don’t ever make fun of someone’s dream. Everyone needs a dream. Dreams are what make us different from animals. Jason, your dream was to play professional football, but those hundred-something new stitches in your arm are probably going to destroy the possibility-keep the dream. My cousin had a dream of being a Navy SEAL but he can’t swim that well so he joined the Army and is a Ranger. My parent’s dream was to go to college and now they’re talking about it as soon as my sister graduates next year. Dreams are what keep us going. My dream has been to go out with Mary Beth.” Where did that come from?
The room was absolutely quiet when a soft voice spoke from the first row of seats. “Did you ever think about asking me out?” Mary Beth was the class beauty, a volleyball and softball player, and probably class valedictorian. She always had an air of poise and sophistication that intimidated Butch, who considered himself just a country boy.
Whoa. May as well press on. “Mary Beth, would you like to go to a movie┬áSaturday?”
“Butch, I’ve been waiting for three years for you to ask me out. I’d love to.”
The classroom erupted into pandemonium with students cheering, jeering, whistling, and applauding, all trying to out-noise the others.
Mrs. Hobbs smiled.


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