Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mystery Guest(s)

What makes a supposedly sane person or bird for that matter- go out into a storm just to see what hasn't been seen, ever before at the bird feeder?  What strange force compels one to sit beneath a spruce tree with a recently replaced new digital camera that one could barely afford, and risk it's demise in a frigid wintry mix of moisture, snowfall and gale forces?!  Frost-bit be damned to the trigger golly, let it fall off- I must, I must I tell you- capture this image...
Mystery Guest
Who is this mystery guest?  I was all aflutter when I spied him and he spied me.  I tell you true, he did a little dance for me in the snow, not three feet away.  I believe he may have been as excited to see me as I him.  (Or her...)  It could be the reciprocating glee came from the fact that I was filling feeders in a blinding snow- still, let me have this one dream come true.  Just this one for now...a mystery guest came to these bold Downeast woods, and I am richer for it!

Now, on the flip side of that coin- the morning found me screaming at the top of my lungs, running through three feet of fresh on top of compacted snow with the most horrendous, useless boots on.   And wave my arms I did, and gestured hugely hollering and yelling towards the culprit who just moments earlier had knocked one guinea off it's roost by ripping it's head off from above pine branch and then zeroed in on another while this intended second victim tried to makes it safe way through showering snow and little light.  I saw this mystery unwanted guest pounce, grab, shake, rip- I heard the guinea scream to no avail while all others scattered, screaming too.  I rounded the pen and in the ten second time frame blind spot- I lost sight of the killer.  By losing sight yet never hearing the exit- I owl had just visited the tranquil forest's edge and reduced my guinea fowl population by two...
The one left on the ground, head still intact but...well, I won't go into detail -  there was just enough life left that I held her and stroked her, gave her thanksgiving and farewell.  My only regret- that the owl would have at least consumed these birds, instead- it came like a cat- dismembering, disenchanting the rest and me and now the safety in numbers and homestead is innocence lost to the not yet year old brood of the most nervous birds on the farm.   This same fellow or female came back at end of day to perch upon the tallest Spruce in the yard- viewing, waiting, ready to do the same as it had done in the early A.M.  In admiration, in joy- I would have grabbed my camera again to take THE photo of a great owl.  But at that time, I had no welcome in me- I only wanted this guest to leave and never come back.  So from a safe distance on our second snow covered story deck- again, I waved and screamed.
"Go away!!!  Get away you bastard...leave them alone."
And then, after it seemed I had no affect on this wild forager- I pleaded with him-
"Then just take one to feed on, but only one.  I know you're hungry, I know you need to eat too...but such waste you left in your wake this morning.  If you are such a great hunter, prove it.  If you are so wise, be that too.  Don't take more than you need, don't kill just to kill.  Surely you are a better bird than that."
I know...but when you're left with the only weapon that truly can make a difference, if only to your self- appealing with reason, if only your own- at least it brings a bit of peace to the situation.
From that lofty perch, where the owl remained and swiveled that magnificent head then- towards me...silently, swiftly and oh so very elegantly- he left.  Up, up on open wide wings towards the deeper woods from where he came.   And I was thankful, again- for a time.
Later I put on those awful boots, adorning myself as well with scarf and mittens, Carharts and an umbrella and waited with the rest...the guineas in their secret other perch, me underneath.  We heard the who-o-o-s and fretted almost silently, so as not to give off the new position.  But I thought I heard nervous talk among the survivors- and finally came the call from the new leader-
To me this is what he said to the clan, "We are safe as long as we remain together, quietly- until one feels truly endangered.  Then by all means, speak up so that the rest of us might know what we are up against.  Otherwise, quiet yourselves- be still..."

I went in then, to my warm fire- leaving the way of the world and the wild to the forces greater than I.
This morning finds me and the guineas, the Redpolls and Chickadees safe and in sunshine.

 The owl?  I do not know...he did not take me up on my offer, his ways are not my ways and as we both acknowledge each others predicaments, I guess one might say we live in peace at this telling- each on our own terms.


Anonymous said...

Great pictures of the Redpoll. I've never seen one before. I can see you out sitting amongst your brood protecting them, and the owl sitting up in the tree wondering if he/she can take you... :-) It's good to see Lily has your story telling abilities as well so it is not a lost art. Stay warm and keep your babies safe! Love, K

Jayne said...

ACK! Well, like you said, they have to eat too, but one would have been plenty. Killing for killing's sake was just showing off! Glad he found some other place to haunt. And happy to see the Redpolls found you!