Garden & Sky

Archive for the tag “cardinals”

A Not-So-Quiet Interlude

August 30, 2017 – Somewhere off in the distance, a squirrel is annoyed. The cardinals are not too happy, either. Sipping my coffee, I listen to their sounds of displeasure… the squirrel with its clacking and wheezing, and the cardinals with their sharp, quick chipping. Normally, this time of day is reserved for crickets and cicadas. What has set off the alarm this morning? It could be our visiting cat, Athena, patrolling her territory. 

Or, it could be a passing hawk. We’ve seen Cooper’s and red-tails many times. Most likely, I’ll never know. The woods are still thick with greenery this time of year, and much of what happens there is hidden from my view.

I have only the sounds to hint at what may be taking place. These events don’t last long, though. Soon, the cat will move on or the hawk will fly off, and it will be all crickets and cicadas again.


Early Fall Morning

Nothing sounds the alarm like a bluejay. There is something going on deep in the woods this morning. I know this because the bluejays have been alerting the area and spreading the word for the last 20 minutes. We may never know the exact situation… perhaps one of the outdoor cats is on patrol, possibly a red-tailed hawk is circling, or it could be a human intruder. Now, the cardinals join in, adding their low-pitched “chip” to the piercing crow-like “caw” of the jays. Then, the red-bellied woodpecker and the chickadees add their two-cents worth, and there are a few more calls that I can’t quite identify. For a while, this wild discordant “noise” dominates the area, impossible to ignore. My grey tabby, Rose, listens and stares intently at the backyard from her window seat. Neither of us can see what’s going on, though Rose gives the impression that she knows.  Then quickly, the noise fades. Suddenly, it’s quiet. The threat has passed; the area is secure once again and everyone can get back to the business of the day.

These relatively brief yet intense episodes happen frequently. They remind me of how much is going on in nature “behind-the-scenes.” Often, on a cool, still morning such as this, I think about all the dramatic scenes that are being played out inside and outside of my own backyard. It boggles the mind. Even now, in the the distance I can hear a hawk screaming and another jay scolding. A small grey squirrel scampers along the back fence. What’s his mission? Hummingbirds fight over the nectar feeder, zooming back and forth with incredible speed and then alighting on a branch to glare at each other. A faded-red cardinal works to feed his two hungry chicks in a nearby bush. The babies flutter their wings with great energy and cheep constantly… great hunger or simply the typical behavior of a growing young cardinal? How much of what we see and hear is interpreted by humans to be dramatic and how much is just day-to-day living in nature’s realm? And maybe, there is no difference….

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