Thistle Seed

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I love wild birds.  Each visual and aural encounter with a bird inspires me, lifts my spirit somehow, and causes me to stop what I’m doing and to watch and listen.  “Do you hear that?” I’ll ask my children as we walk on Rabbit Lane.  “That’s the cry of the Red-shafted Northern Flicker.  Now every time you hear that lonesome call, you’ll know who it is, and can watch.  See?  There he goes?”  The Meadowlark sings the most beautiful and complex melody.  Common Sparrows twitter chaotically, wooing mates in the tree branches.  Red-winged Blackbirds whistle and dive in for a sunflower snack.  Mourning Doves coo softly and sadly.  I hope you enjoy this prose poem about some wild birds in the Rabbit Lane neighborhood.

THISTLE SEED

Small striped Siskin grasps a high twig with black-wire feet, glancing repeatedly downward, wishing someone would fill the hanging thistle seed bag.

Two Red Tails sit close on a high bare branch watching the fields together for a mouse or a vole or a gopher that might poke its snout up through the snow. Which one will fly?

A thousand yellow-shafted Northern Flickers crowd a copse of gambel oaks and mountain maples, each of the thousand chatting earnestly to the other nine-hundred ninety-nine. The red-shafted flies alone, flapping then gliding close-winged, after sounding a solitary cry.

Kestrel finds its way into the coop, with no room to dive and where the chickens are ten times its size, and cannot see the way out. Brian grapples it with leather gloves and sets it free to fly, not before noticing the beautiful markings on its face, the scalpel beak, and the black glossy gleam in its eyes.

Bald Eagle came only once to our cottonwoods and stared down at me as I stood stupefied.

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