Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Feathered Neighbors

Despite always having an outdoor cat, I always have birds either just visiting or actively foraging in my back yard. Two in particular are identifiable repeat visitors and have definite personalities.
One is a female cardinal. I am not sure if she also has a nest in the area but she comes to visit almost every morning and most evenings. She is fearless, often perching on a camp chair only five feet from the lounging cat and ten feet from the back door. She is also very talkative, carrying on a running soliloquy aimed first at the cat and then at me. She looks directly at one or the other, bobs her head, flashes her tail as she speaks. After ten to fifteen minutes she flies off but has been known to come back two or three times in the course of an evening.
The second is a catbird. It is a little more timid, tending to perch on the fence another ten feet or so from the camp chair the cardinal uses. He is also a little less talkative and not so direct. He seems to be talking just for the sake of talking and can be looking in any direction, even have his back turned, as he talks. Like the cardinal though he will stay for fifteen minutes at a time and often comes back once or twice in the course of a morning of evening.
Neither bird seems to be looking for food and mating season is well past. They just seem to like the company and the ambiance. The cat occasionally looks in their direction but has not once moved toward either bird, sometimes ambling away when he gets bored. If I get up and move around, even to the doorway, neither bird flinches. They will only move off if I actually come through the door and then only if I move toward them. Otherwise they are perfectly happy to keep talking from their favored spots.
I am sure some of the smaller birds, finches, sparrows and the like, are repeat visitors too but they are not unique enough for me to identify them and they rarely stay more than a minute. There is a blackbird who comes by every morning. I can hear him sing. But he never gets close enough to see clearly – I think he’s well up in the next door maple.
I know they are not “special” birds and certainly not uncommon species; nothing a true birdwatcher would get excited about. But they, especially the cardinal and the catbird, are neighbors to me. Frequent visitors with personalities both they and I understand and with an implicit agreement to enjoy each other’s company, if only for a few minutes most days.