Sunday, April 1, 2007

The bird with the red beak

Living in the country, one realizes that we are never truly alone. We are surrounded by creatures, large and small, some of whom seem very persistent at making themselves known to us, others who would just as soon keep to themselves. Since moving into our current abode at Maison Sante, my first encounter with other species happened last spring when I found myself being taunted by a family of brash chipmunks. I had put a couple of bird feeders up, and while I attracted a few birds, I attracted at least seven "cute" little chipmunks. They would sit at the bird feeder as happy as could be, filling their cheeks with birdseed, spilling much of it onto the ground. Once the bird feed had stopped flowing, they would chew their way through the wooden sides to get at the last bits. At first they didn't seem to mind my presence, although they would look right at me, chewing all the while. I tried a variety of tactics to discourage their greediness, but ultimately the only way I could keep them out of the bird feeders was to suspend them (the bird feeders) from a clothesline between a couple of trees. As if to show me that they were going to step this battle up a notch, the chipmunks chewed a hole in through the fascia of the house, right into the ceiling above my bed. I tried patching their hole with wood, and they chewed right through it. Eventually, I covered it with a piece of tin - this seemed to do the trick, or so I thought. For months, I didn't hear the scratching and hustle and bustle of my uninvited guests, until one morning I woke up to a tremendous amount of clatter at my bedroom window. The cats were going crazy jumping from the bed, to the windowsill and back again. Eyes still a little bleary from sleep, I peered over the headboard out the window, and there, to my surprise, was the source of all the racket. It was a beautiful red bird with a bright red beak scratching and clawing against the window. As soon as my bird friend caught a glimpse of me, he quickly flew off into the trees. I went back to sleep. Now, every morning begins with a visit from the bird with the red beak. I went on Google today to find out what kind of bird this was. Thanks to another blogger at Birdchick Blog, I have determined that my new chum appears to be a bald cardinal. Oh, about the chipmunks - I heard some familiar scratching in another part of the building - I think they have found a new way in. Now, if only Google could tell me what these daily visitations of the bald cardinal are trying to tell me. Could it be a message from the Bishop? Anyone out there proficient in Animal Speak. Please let me know.

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