Should I call an ornithologist? That’s the logical thing to do. Nah. Too much trouble and would interrupt the cherished moment. I would rather stick with my intuition… perhaps denying tutelage? My nuthatch hangs upside down, perfectly comfortable. My theory, to get his circulation moving into his digestive system before he swings right-side-up to eat at our birdfeeder. Or maybe to shift the gastric juices into the correct pocket for the approaching food. He performs this ritual every time he comes to dine, but doesn’t repeat it with every bite. Whatever the reason, he is an entertainment.
The chickadee goes right for the meal, as does the goldfinch, the sparrow, Mr. and Ms. Cardinal, all the different finches, as well as the evening grosbeak, though they are appearing less and less each year. There is definitely a hierarchy. Who can be at the feeder and with whom at any one time. Our family of four hummingbirds doesn’t fool around as they each dart to the red hanging nectar hole without any competition.
So sitting out on our patio with a cocktail most evenings around 5:30pm, we consider our entertainment cheap and exceptional. Squirrels and chipmunks wait patiently in the Mugo pine bushes to dash later for the dropped birdseed. Our dogs sit and watch, for a few minutes, then the fun of the pursuit begins, never catching anyone. And I don’t think they care. A red tail hawk sits high up in the red pine tree.
And with a silent, swift dive of the hawk, all the activity stops as suddenly as it started. The birds have disappeared into their Mugo hideaways. The squirrels scatter into the bushes and up trees. Chipmunks call it a day and race towards their safe nests in the stone wall. Our five dogs stretch out on the brick patio, cooling their hot, panting bodies. The hawk has departed as quickly as he lurched without being successful in his dinner pursuit.
My eyes move from the feeder to the distant Maiden’s Cliff and further around another 90 degrees to the islands in Penobscot Bay. The sensual and artistic shapes of the very large one hundred-plus year old maples and oaks against the blue clear sky form a panoramic tableau. No landscape designer drew this out on paper. We never have to look far to see the artist called Mother Nature creating the most impressive and profound canvases.