Posts Tagged With: Bird

Sunday Afternoon Magic

So, here I sit out front, fuzzy black slippers on, in my porch swing. My computer sitting on my lap. I thought, maybe, being outdoors would somehow prompt some inspiration or insight or intelligence. All “in” words, which is contrary to being “out” here.

photo-19 copy 17

If you look closely you can see a reflection in the water.

Still, there’s something comforting on the breeze. The cooler air smells different, fresher, promising, tentative. A couple of hummingbirds hover at the feeder that I’ve let run dry in the past day or two. I should get up off the swing and make up some nectar to fill it. Then the tiny chirps would sound less insistent. Two house wrens, make that three,  jump from bush to bird bath, taking turns dipping into the water, drinking, checking, drinking, checking.

The bush they flit about in needs a good trimming. It’s overgrown and leaning to the east. Every time I’ve thought of getting out the trimmers for a little shaping the bush is in full flower, purple over the entire outer surface. The unkempt look of the bushes matches the wildflowers which are getting taller in sporadic and uneven places. They look more like weeds than ever. I’m not sure where I’ve put the “Wildflowers Under Construction” signs. I should locate and set those out so the HOA knows not to fine me for weeds.

Leaves skitter down the road from time to time as the wind picks up occasionally. Drifts of orange curls settle in crevices and under bushes and between stepping-stones. Then here and there a rain of tiny gray-green leaflets fall from the boughs that oversee almost the entire front yard. I ought to get the blower/vac out tomorrow morning and clean things up a bit, before the garbage truck arrives. But I probably won’t. Let the rest of the leaves from the trees on our street finish their deleafing, then I’ll “clean up” what ought to be left out for crunching footsteps and mulching gardens.

Still with a lengthening to-do list growing in my head as I swing I find a sense of okay-ness out here.

Maybe it’s the family groups that walk or bike the perimeter of the park.  Maybe it’s the sound of children playing on the swings across the street. Could be the chips and cheeps of unseen birds or the blue softness of the sky. It could be the ease of a Sunday afternoon spread out languidly before me. Nothing but a diet Coke to work on.

Choices abound. I recognize how amazingly lucky I am to have the option of being comfortably inside or outside in December. That I live in a place with room for a porch swing feels almost decadent. That growing things surround my home and provide homes for birds and rabbits and an occasional stray cat helps me feel more of life in my days. Healthy and able to walk or dance or bake or spend time with MSH or my children seems like something I shouldn’t ignore or presume.

Yes, pending loss cracks open the shell of the universe, hearts border on breaking.

And yet, somehow goodness and beauty soothe and succor. Something about the outside world gentles the  pounding in my heart and hushes the worry circling my head.

Categories: Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pleasant Peasant Pheasant

Bird feeder

Bird feeder (Photo credit: Matt Peoples)

There is a Pheasant in my backyard.

Or a Grouse.

It comes and goes, from backyard to backyard. The one behind ours has a bird feeder, so it visits there often. And from what Jim, my neighbor two doors down says, it’s taken up residence behind an Oleander in his yard.

I took photos, to document this odd phenomenon in the dry desert. But the photos show what looks like a pile of rocks amid a bunch of rocks. Desert landscaping will do that.

Either way, Pheasant or Grouse, it just isn’t normal to see a bird this size, here in the crazy heat  part of Arizona.

“Pheasant populations persisting in Arizona are largely confined to agricultural areas having a relatively high humidity (e.g., citrus orchards in the Yuma and Mesa areas) or high enough in elevation to escape the desiccating heat of Sonoran Desert summers. In such locations, a rooster will acquire a harem of from one to three hens, with mating commencing in early April. By mid-May most of the hens are nesting and of no further interest to him, and he will abandon his territorial patrols by the end of the month. The peak of hatching is during the last week of May, the most arid time in Arizona, which is one of the reasons why pheasants have not become established here”

Female pheasant 3

Female pheasant (Photo credit: scyrene)

Based on photos, a bit of research and some common sense, I’ve decided this odd duck of a bird is a female Pheasant. Grouse tend to hang out up on the Mogollon Rim, high country as we call it here.

I feel bad for this bird. Clearly, she’s out of her element and won’t do well when the heat really settle in, unless she can find her way to a citrus orchard somewhere in the area. The nearest ones are about five to eight miles away.

I’m always amazed at how wildlife adapts itself to the intrusions and weirdness of humans.

English: taken at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

At the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we first moved to Arizona fifteen years ago, it was fairly common to see a Fox trotting through an open field. It was much more common to see open fields that many years ago. The housing boom hit Phoenix with a vengeance  and most of the open areas around us disappeared in about four months, give or take a year or two.

I often saw Jackrabbits of a substantial enough size that I’d do a double take. I’ve seen a Mountain Lion at the Riparian Preserve. The “Rip”  borders a canal which is significant. Lined with a dirt road or even asphalt or concrete paths, the canals here are like an open invitation to wildlife from the foothills to come on down and play the city game. Poor misguided critters!

I’ve noticed some people seem to have wandered from their normal habitat into the suburbs and cityscape. These are people who prefer solitude , silence and privacy. I think sometimes I am one of those misplaced creatures.

The sound of sirens, the constant hum of traffic, crowds, stress of every hue, all combine, sometimes, to make me wish I lived in the mountains in a secluded cabin with a well hidden dirt access road.

I feel a bit misplaced and out of my element.

But I’ve adapted. I grow wildflowers. I have a backyard garden. I have a hummingbird feeder. I disappear into other worlds through books. I enjoy what music I can find in the suburban bird chatter of Dove, Grackle, Finch, Towhee and Mockingbird. I visit nearby open spaces and green areas. I walk. I ride my bike. I dream of the mountains.

I wonder if the Pheasant in the backyard feels the same way.

Wish I could help her find her way back to where she belongs without upsetting the natural order of things.

It could happen.

Categories: Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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