This is the second in a series of posts about what’s happening with cultivated and wild things on my property in the South Common Historic District.— PM
The birds. The birds. As a kid, one of my favorite movies was Alfred Hitchcock’s ominous 1963 movie “The Birds” with Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor. I was fascinated by the mood the director created around seemingly normal, natural elements. We’ve all seen crows. We’ve all seen seagulls. But who had seen them organized into attack squadrons? I’m glad that “Hitch” didn’t find a way to make robins threatening.
The birds are back in force in my neighborhood. Some of the small brown ones, maybe sparrows, seemed to have stayed around all winter, but I can’t swear to that. With the ground softening and sun many degrees warmer, our flying friends are the most prominent creatures in the yard. We have an abundance of trees on the property, so there are perches a-plenty and places for nests and observation. There’s a 40-foot fir out back that features a permanent apartment for a family of crows each year. I have no idea if the occupants are returnees or newcomers. The behavior is the same. Especially the raucous harking alarms when a local cat is spotted slipping through the bushes. Fat-chested robins in their red-orange vests make regular investigations of the turf. Do they really “feel” worms and insects underground with their wiry feet? One of the neighbors has a couple of bird-feeders that bring the original “tweeters” all day, including in the past a good number of cardinals, often in pairs. The flash of red among pine needles or evergreen bushes is always an exotic sight. I’ve never seen a dozen or more as shared in photos on Facebook from who knows where. So far we haven’t had blue jays, another substantial bird in adult form. A random seagull arced over the yard the other day. These are more likely seen on the South Common, picking at discarded pizza crusts and little piles of cold fried rice spilling out of trashed Chinese take-out containers. A year ago, for many mornings in a row I saw a large hawk in a maple tree on the Common when my Boston Terrier and I passed by on daily walks. The squirrels remained silent and still in the presence of the equally still hawk.