Monday, February 06, 2006

The problem of a gift for my mother was solved this weekend by the Globe & Mail. The Review Section featured a short article about Graeme Gibson's 'new' book, "The Bedside Book of Birds: an Avian Miscellany".
...and I can look forward to borrowing it from her.
Yesterday, enroute to Back Acres, I saw a Red-Tailed Hawk hunched over his bloody kill - enjoying his roadside elevensies. It's probably the same hawk I often see airborne over the fields along Ninth Line. There's another one that has staked out a patch at the corner of Erin Mills Pkwy and the QEW. It's good to know that some wildlife can adapt to the encroaching development.
Back Acres' kitchen has a big picture window with a perfect view of the bird feeder. The juncos, nuthatches and chicadees are always busy flitting in from the surrounding trees. Sometimes they are eclipsed by the flashier jays and cardinals lending a vivid splash of colour to the drab winter landscape (this year so devoid of snow). On the north side of the house, the view from the living room is of various woodpeckers (mostly the downies) who prefer the suet-based meals they have to dig from the drilled-out blocks hanging from the Beech tree.
My mother's faithfulness with with the food supplies have given us all many hours of viewing pleasure over the years.

Back home I notice that since our cat died (just recently), my forsythia is once again teeming with noisy sparrows. They perch at my place and make raids to my neighbour's feeder -but I get all the pleasure of their company and their gossip. They make me laugh.

Birds in the Bush
Fifteen, twenty-five, thirty fat bodies
Puffed out against the cold,
Feathering the forsythia.
Forsooth! They're noisy little neighbours,
More chatter than a houseful of idle men.
Yet - if I speak - if I say,
"Good day sparrows."
Quiet as hiding children they become.
My faux pas hangs heavy on still air.
Their bright relentless eyes
Stare me down
And I, chastened, fly.
Helen McCusker


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