Friday, May 27, 2022

Stroup: They’re Baaaack

Last spring our property was populated with a multitude of critters…some way cool…some not so much. The birds and the ducks, though somewhat a pain in the tail feathers, proved to be the most educational and entertaining.

The tiny sparrows with their sticky little feet amazed me as they clung to the bricks on the wall of my back porch. They returned this year (earlier than last) and built a nifty nest (I guess) totally hidden from the naked eye. However, copious traces of their droppings hinted at where to look for this season’s nook. But even after much investigation, to include spying at 2 a.m., my Nancy Drew skills failed me in honing in on their habitat.

The plan was to be an inhospitable landlady ergo convincing them to fly the coop. I mean I can only clean up so much bird poop. There on the walls, the furniture and the porch deck they had turned my patio into a wreck. I’m not sure just how many times a day I will scrub up their mess before “inhospitable” turns to downright hostile. But I’ll continue to keep an eye out in the hopes of finding and relocating their nest. (I’d hate to think that they’ve won leaving me with a chirp on my shoulder).

Ducks are not nearly as clever as sparrows or wrens or whatever the porch poachers are. If you keep your eye on them for just a short while, they’ll waddle directly into their ducky digs. Annually and without fail that’s in my flower bed next to the pool. While I’m up at 2 a.m., to sparrow spy, I can hear and see the mallards in the shallow end! Though they quack quietly they have yet to master the art of a silent swim. Loud clapping and yelling on my part causes panicky flight but they insistently and consistently come back to this sight. So once again we will be fishing ducklings out of our pool this spring.

But, yet again, the master of mischief when it comes to our yard is the red shouldered hawk, by far! This phenom of a creature rules the roost so to speak. It has a fabulous wing span and serious beak. I watched the very nice lady that cleans out our pool glance nervously over her netted leaf tool. She had quite a time getting her work done clearly concerned that the bird was about to lunge. We had a chat and she described how he’d already swoosed her twice. He’d suddenly swooped down diving from the rear next to her ear. Being well acquainted with this warning tactic I assured her that on his next dive there would be physical contact. Personal experience from last year’s head trauma taught me to keep a far distance from his babies and mama. Their nest was also built early this year in the same tree, on the same branch and it will be a looong spring I fear. Right above the pool, Mr. Hawk has a bird’s eye view of the humans beneath him. And the humans haven’t a clue of the danger they’re in. Big Bird strikes swiftly then soars high above repeating his attacks in defense of the ones that he loves.

(I know. I know. Love probably isn’t really a bird thing

 but if it were I’d certainly want

 this caring raptor waiting in the wings).

C. Stroup
Cindy Stroup is a Double Oak resident and has been contributing to The Cross Timbers Gazette for over 30 years. Read her column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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