After so many years of watching the House Sparrows nest in the vent across from my kitchen window, Northern Flickers are being spotted there consistently and poor Mr. is sitting over on my fence, crying the blues! I feel sad…but, I guess this is nature at its most interesting. I am amazed that these two, especially Mr. Sparrow, fought so long and hard. At some point who wouldn’t surrender to this particular beak? Not certain that the Flickers will raise young in this location. It may be a mere hiding-hole, but we shall see. I haven’t seen Mr. Sparrow at the vent opening since yesterday morning, so I would say, “he’s evicted”! It’s been four days since I’ve seen Mrs. Sparrow, so I’m thinking that during the first days of encroachment, she abandoned her nest. All nesting materials are to be found on the ground outside of that vent.
Happier Days, although the weather was brutal! March 11, 2018
Determination on April 18
April 24 morning…the last time I saw Mr. at his window.
April 25 Ousted and not happy about it.
Home sweet home.
Lost…and all the best nesting sites taken. And where is Mrs.?
I introduced you to Mr. & Mrs. of 2018 a few short weeks ago. That was before the snow and the storms that seemed to go on and on in April. While House Sparrows aren’t my favourite (is anyone crazy about them?) because they are such sloppy eaters and are actually pretty violent with one another, I’ve been, for years, fond of the nesters because I’ve learned so much about bird nesting behaviour and a couple’s determination. Conveniently located across from my kitchen window, my neighbour’s vent has been home to several mating couples, most unsuccessful with fledglings…except for last year, the first successful year in a while.
The past two mornings, pouring my first cup of coffee, I’ve seen this guy pop out…
While I love a Northern Flicker down at the river’s edge, moving into the core of dead elms…I don’t like seeing this! For one, what of my nesters? Well, Mr. was inside the vent at the same time, because shortly after this photo was taken, Mr. appeared from within, barking at the world and quite upset.
On April 17, when I first noticed the Northern Flicker demanding entrance into the vent, I also saw Mrs. after the entrance and departure. I have no idea the state of the nest or if there are any viable eggs at this point. On the 17th, early in the morning, I told my son, “We must have a hatch over at the nest because Dad is acting very cocky and agitated.”
But…as soon as the Flicker fiasco was behind them, Mr. began to do this…bopping in and out, removing nesting materials and dropping them outside of the nest.
Our neighbourhood, once spring is in full bloom, is a favourite hang out for Magpies and Crows. I’ve seen Magpies clinging to the edges of this vent, with beak fully immersed, on the attack. Northern Flickers are known for being destructive as they peck away for insects and spiders that tuck themselves under the edging of house siding. I don’t think it would be a wonderful thing to see a couple nesting anywhere near here. If they are scavenging and feeding here, also not a good thing.
I have no choice but to watch and learn. I suppose my readers would have reported all of this to their neighbours by now. I’ve wondered that myself.
It is April 9, 2018 for just a short while longer.
I was downloading photographs off my Canon Powershot…birds, of course. I clicked something in the process of fiddling with the files on my desk top and images surfaced from past April 9ths and I take pause.
I’m going to slow this writing down a little. I’m going to back-track. Yesterday morning I was feeling downhearted. News has been very sad lately. We had just endured more bitterly cold days and another 15 cms. of snow. I was just heavy-hearted for a lot of reasons. I received a message from my friend Michael. He said that he was up for some naturing. The weather was taking a turn for the better and the sun was out.
We sat ourselves down on a bench at the river, after enjoying a leisurely walk right to the river’s edge. I watched a Downy Woodpecker, from where we sat. The brilliant white gulls flew overhead. Michael plugged in a bit of Ram Dass and we took pause and listened. For both of us, Toe Knee came to mind. Then we talked about death. We talked about the releasing of everything…power, ego, money, objects, even friends and family. We grieved the loss of so many who suffer addiction, hopelessness, overdose, hunger…we talked about trauma. I know. It all seems pretty dark. But, truth is, we don’t talk about some of the things that really matter. And that is why the pain sometimes continues to go on in the background.
Michael made me cry when he told me that the paintings that my students do are an expression of the artist in me. I was grateful for the remark. And so, today, I began my day by painting with grade threes…this, after walking Max, drinking my two cups of home brew and moving, dazed, through all of the morning rituals that began April 9, 2018.
First…my photograph of the little Mrs. She only pops her head out briefly during the morning, when Mr. heads out in search of sustenance. He is usually on guard at the vent, repeating his vocalizations again and again. This morning came with her sweet face.
The children are beautiful, as they enter into a magical silence and become completely consumed by the process of creating.
Small conversations about Easter break…hugs from friends I have made over the years…a really great conversation about Reconciliation and the Metis with a teacher I had met some years ago…a young student, now in grade five, putting out the question, “Do you remember me?” Number lines and plotting data, first events in stories, agendas, recess, mixing of paint, sunlight filling the room, fruit yogurt, spelling digraphs gh/ph/f…wallpaper in closets…dates in calendars…logging in and logging out…the drive to and from.
Max and I at the river…releasing. We stood under a tree and big chunks of wood began dropping onto both of us. He would shake. I would brush off. Again and again. I looked up to find this guy, ravenously chipping through the flesh of the tree.
…and this guy observing all.
…and this guy scooting into the tall grass.
…and this above and around me.
…and these two courting.
Not to mention, these two.
April 9 was a particularly beautiful day, as it turns out. My first born took a drive to Lethbridge today with my grandson and these two photographs, make my heart sing…Steven with his Great Granny Batsford and his Great Grampa Bergman….and soon he will meet his Great Grampa Moors. What a blessed boy! and how blessed we are by him!
And as I downloaded my photographs onto my desktop computer, April 9, 2013 photographs surfaced. I was given the memory of my mother’s hands…and the memory of the work that she did in her life.
These were a little gift for me.
The day is almost gone and I am left with a feeling about just how powerful a single day can be. I hope to be mindful about each day I am given. I hope to remember the lesson that this day has given.
Yesterday morning’s canning…a fun way to begin the day and something else with amazing colour, to contribute to the wonder of the winter months. :0) By the way, update on the bird feeders…the chickadees are presently happily making their songs and feeding from the front yard feeder. And there is a northern flicker, a male, sitting patiently above the feeder in the branches of my elm tree. Plenty for every bird in the neighbourhood!