Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Friday, February 19, 2010

Danger Among the Birds

Today I walked out of my house, heading to the studio.  It isn't far to walk down the sidewalk from our house to the barn where my studio awaits.  Outside my back door hang my bird feeders.  I have a big ole gourd with three big circles cut out and black oil sunflower seeds inside.  I have a nice wire feeder that also holds black oil sunflower seeds, a bag of thistle seed and a wire cage for suet.  The birds fly off when I come out the door with my three dogs.  I hear them all chattering in the pine trees, in the tangled trumpet vine that climbs the arbor and in the branches of the old maple trees. 

We have had lots of birds coming to the feeders.  I watch them every morning while I have coffee and breakfast.  They make a lot of noise as they talk to their neighbor at the feeder.  I hear the nuthatch with it's throaty chirp, the cardinals tweeting to their mates and the joyful sound of the finches.  It is a busy little community of birds that share the feeders with very few spats between them.  Of course, when the big Blue-jay comes in, most birds give him room, he collects seeds and then goes elsewhere to eat them, then the little birds resume their meals.

After filling the feeders, the dogs and I head to the studio.  We get in the studio and are greeted by the cats, Punkin' Patch and Spirit Kitty (the Queen).  Depending on the moment they will want out now or in five minutes, or as soon as I sit down to do some serious work.  I turn up the heat and turn on the music, it is most often Native American Flute, by some of my favorite musicians.  I usually have a plan for the day before I start my work, it could be gourds, painting a canvas with acrylics or even making a piece of jewelery. Today I dive into the project I wrote about in Meandering Artist.  I am working and hearing the birds chattering, it sounds like a chorus of hundreds outside.  I even look once to see if we've been invaded by all the neighbors birds, but all was normal.   I go back to work.

At some point I realize that one of the birds is squawking outside.  I puzzle this sound, what bird is it?  I don't immediately recognize bird's songs, it is a challenge for me to carry their sounds in my brain.  I can carry many things, colors, conversations, where to find the best buy for beads and such, I just can't carry a tune........   Okay, back to the squawking bird.   I decide to get up and go out on the porch and see what is going on.  The dogs are upset that they can't come out too, I don't want to disturb whatever is happening.  I notice there are no birds at the feeders.  Then I see the squawking bird, the one alerting all the others to trouble.  It is the Blue-jay and he is in the tangled naked branches of the trumpet vine.  With just another moment of observation I see the reason.  A Coopers Hawk has come visiting.  He is sitting on a fence post over by the pine trees, he is hoping for a little lunch himself, but not of black oil sunflower seeds.  Coopers Hawks will catch and eat other birds.  I've seen an air persuit once while riding my horse in the woods.  Another time I watch a red-winged black bird become a meal right under a pine tree in the front yard.  All that he left was the feet and some feathers....

I watch him fly into the pine trees, maneuvering from branch to branch, he is chasing a female cardinal.  My instinct is to chase him off.  My understanding of nature knows that I should leave well enough alone.  The hawk is hungry and I love the hawk as much as the cardinal.  I watch both move through the pines and it isn't long before the cardinal escapes.  The Coopers Hawk didn't find his meal in my back yard.  Soon all the chatter resumes at the feeders and all is well between the house and studio.


  1. Loved this story Cynthia!!! Gorgeous photos and stories!! You are so incredibly gifted in your connection to all of nature and its significance. What an amazing article gifting us an inside glimpse into the peace you have while making your beautiful gourds and playing your flute amonst the birds! Truly enjoyed this! Thanks! Your friend, Dawna