Friday, May 31, 2013

Spring Rites

Linda and I have a lot of bird friendly shrubs and plants, and a few birdbaths and smallish ponds so we've created an avian sanctuary around the house. Just this afternoon as I was editing a story to be, I noted four cedar wax wings land on a chokeberry bush a dozen feet from my chair, an amazing looking bird appearing as if made of buff colored wax. We're home to cardinals and jays, goldfinch and catbirds and twenty other species that gather round every year, but none more prevalent than the common wren.

Outside my kitchen window are two metal basket frames filled with soil held by moss liners. In summer, petunias, bacopa, spike, snapdragons and even miniature roses provide scent and color to the cook's room. But in winter, and until we're driven in springtime to tackle all 30 some boxes and pots, they are an ugly sight indeed. Our iron heavy water stains the stucco underneath the baskets, the runoff dripping down the wall every day after I've soaked each frame. The moss deteriorates quickly in our climate, so it's a shoddy moth eaten mess in the best of times, but it's especially bad at the kitchen.

A pond is closeby, an arbor as well where clematis grows up one side, over the top and down the other side making shady cover for overheated birds. Two years ago I let barn swallows build a mud pocket nest near the front door stoop, the spot noted in my icon with the chair and screen door. The swallows were tossed out by finches, and the finches by what looks to be house wrens, but whatever they are we have constant companionship from feathered friends. And the proximity of the birds to the baskets means they rip them to shreds every spring, stealing hunks of stringy moss with which to build their nests.

A couple days ago while I was making coffee and standing at the sink I noted a female wren standing on the black basket frame, facing away from me and shivering as if it was January. I assumed she'd come as a theif, but to my surprise I spotted an opening beneath her tail, looking like a microscopic bovine vagina, yet opening and closing as if it were a fish mouth searching for a hook. It's not that I have no clue about the biology of animals, but I'd never actually witnessed the mating flex of a fluffy lady before, and I was both taken back and astounded that she was parading her tushy in front of my window...the very window beyond which I create food.

I hadn't spotted the male, but there he was all primped and ready, and he soon hopped on the female's behind as she cocked her tail out of the way and they rubbed parts together. I swear she looked embarrassed that her mate only lasted a moment before he jumped off for a nap, and he, while engaged, looked to the sky and closed his eyes as if he was imagining some fantasy bird he'd seen in Chick magazine.

It was off, on, off, on and then the big daddy took a little snooze while she plucked a few feathers away that were no doubt full of boy germs. He finally woke and stepped her way, probably to ask for a smoke or apologize for his prematurity, but she was having none of his blather; as he got near she raised her right foot and gave him such a whack! Oy! He took the hint, snatched a clawful of moss from my poor flowerbasket and took off in search of a branch crotch where the happy couple might lay the product of their umm...rubbing.

As if that wasn't bad enough, it happened again a day later, and then Linda witnessed another pair today. It's like my flower box has become the neighborhood love shack; like there's posters hung in trees, written in Avian claiming "you and your sweety will surely make tweety in Hotel' le Seedy" or some nonsense.

Then this afternoon as I was indisposed in the (hrmph) reading room, I spied a jackrabbit hopping past my window on his way to my front yard. When I finished...my chapter...I made my way to the very same kitchen window where debauchery reigned supreme, and wouldn't you know it near the arbor were a boy and girl rabbit doing that hard to get rub the noses sneak up behind her thing.

There's just all too much sex around here lately, and none of it has anything to do with me. I counted six nests so far within 30 feet of my shack door, all with little surprises inside. If they all make the journey to this side of the shell, that'll be about 13 more birds that will shiver in genetic pleasure and push their butts against my windows looking for some action next spring...and only God knows how many bunnies will be traipsing through my yard eating my vegetables once Bugs and his teenage mistress do their thing.

I wonder what the coyotes were howling about tonight. Wait! I think I can guess. At least they have the good taste to stay in the swamp and not act like those moral-less birds. I spose they already know the window box is too small for dogs.

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