The migrant birds came so silently we hardly saw their arrival this year. Now they are gone or going. To where we can only guess. It’s been so warm here this year they could stay, rather than take that long lonely journey to somewhere, and we would welcome their company, But perhaps they already have their tickets and boarding passes. The hummingbirds linger year round, selfishly guarding the feeder and fighting off all comers. One has decided to perch on a nearby leaf and challenge each new bird including the occasional house finch.
The migrators wear sober traveling clothes on their southward trip, even the males tone down their finery for the flight. We think of them as migrants going south for the winter, which is only partly true, because from our point of view that is what it looks like. But they really are only going from one part of their large range to another. I wonder how they know when it’s time to come north again.
I have also often wondered what they talk about in the early morning and early evening; the concert also seems somehow different at different times of the year. The sound of birdsong is the most difficult to put on paper. I like to imagine it as being bright and sprightly in the morning, and perhaps becoming a bit like a lullaby as evening approaches. Lately I’ve been thinking, does it become eager to get going as ours does before a trip? It is so pleasant to sit in the evening and listen to the conversations.
Occasionally we have a murder of crows stop in to annoy us. They get up early which wouldn’t be bad if they weren’t such loudmouths. I grant you, they are attractive in a dark sort of Edgar Allen Poe way. Henry, our sometime resident crow whom I have written about in the past, delights in annoying Charlie, though he has finally realized that Charlie is no real threat, so he perches in a tree or on the fence and gives forth his obnoxious caw. I think the reason I don’t like Henry is that I realize he is smarter than I am. Since the drought has dragged on, the birdbath is sometimes shallow or dry, and Henry doesn’t leave many gifts for me to clean up. He is playing a tit for tat game.
Today we picnicked in the park under a brilliant clean washed sky. The geese stayed their distance, and though we saw hundreds of seagulls off in the distance across the lake, none came to join us. They have been communing with the weather people who say more rain is in the offing, and they may get their wings wet.