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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Born Free, Part Two

This has been a good week in my thoroughly middle-aged life. The spring semester has ended, and summer school hasn't started, so there is time for home projects, visits with friends, gardening, and of course, checking out the wildlife action in the yard.

This afternoon brought the first hummingbird of the season, drawn to the fading blooms of the pink rhododendron off the porch. It hovered only a moment, and then was off to the lonicera sempervirens on the back fence. This week has brought avian adolescents of various species, with today bringing young starlings the size of their parents, still demanding food. At first we didn't recognize them, given how different the juvenile plumage is from that of the adults. 

The first juvenile on the suet feeder

Starling in the clover
Then there is that bossy starling behavior.

Perhaps the most amusing juvenile of the week was a young house finch, the size of an adult but still possessing fuzzy eyebrows. It sat for some time on the arm of the feeder pole, cheeping pitifully, fluttering its feathers, and generally pleading for food. Its parents (or at least a pair of finches) remained on either side of the poor youngster, one on the sunflower feeder and one on the safflower, repeatedly demonstrating how to take a seed and repeatedly being ignored by their starving offspring. We thought we heard the finch version of "There's nothing to eat here" coming from the backyard equivalent of the open refrigerator.

Okay, we may not have lions, wolves, or even wild horses, but there is no shortage of animal life around our house.

The goldfinches are repeat visitors.
The birdbath attracted its first visitor, a grackle.
And of course, everyone's favorite rodent has figured out how to access the supposedly squirrel-resistant sunflower seed feeder.
Watching all the activity off the back porch, listening to the musicians practicing in the living room, it strikes me that I may indeed have lived out a version of my wildlife-and-art-filled childhood fantasy.

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