Friday, July 8, 2011

R.I.P "Busy Bird"

As a followup to yesterday's post, I decided to go out and finally attempt to capture a picture of our favorite bird, which we've nicknamed "Busy Bird." Much to my sadness, however, I heard some bird activity and a cardinal swooping in for a reconnaissance mission by our patio steps. He then quickly left as I came around the bend. I noticed an army of ants heading up the steps and then I suddenly got it- there was a dead bird. Earlier in the morning I had heard a thwock against the picture window- it's somewhat common for clumsy bumblebees and occasional birds to bounce off of the glass. But unfortunately, the bird in question did not survive the error in flight path. That bird appears to be our yard sentry, "Busy Bird."

BB reminds me of a type of lovable and simultaneously irritating personality often seen in parishes. Self appointed, he would make the rounds on a quality control inspection- was the bird feeder full and safely in place? Thanks to BB we realized when squirrels had knocked it down.
Was the birdbath full and clean? Every day, twice a day he perched on the arching perch above the water to survey and then bathe or chirp if things were unsatisfactory.
Was there a clog in the gutter? On our screened porch one section of gutter was notorious for getting the peeling bark of the sycamore, the burrs of a linden and other detritus in it, which would congeal after a rain. We used to be able to sit on our screen porch and hear the slapping sound as BB would trawl through the gutter for bugs or perhaps nesting items, but in prime efficiency mode, fling out all obstacles to this quest onto the ground.
It took us a while to realize why there was always one place on the driveway with a pile of tree matter. But we always knew when there was a clog.
BB was almost possessed about defending turf. He was known to prance along behind my husband when he was mowing and I could never really tell if he was pointing out shoddy work or just peeved at the intrusion into HIS yard.
And when the trees were cut down and the patio garden created, he regularly followed me curtly tutting about my presence in HIS space, regularly preening the area and occasionally staking out an outpost for surveillance on the top of a tomato stake.
He also engaged in the radical practice of chasing away large birds like starlings who were menacing the smaller birds at the feeder and was once seen chastising a squirrel who finally gave up rather than deal with the onslaught.
But I have no picture of this dark gray and black bird who was hardly the showboat of the field but whose quirky yet loving presence made the yard remarkable.
RIP, feathered friend.

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