A mourning dove smashed against my living room window, the other day. I’d just been thinking about all the birds that had done the same, over and over again – they never seem to learn. It’s not as if the glass is so clean they can’t see it; by now, they have to know, too, that it’s there. The windows are high up, for a house, but it’s hardly like ramming into a skyscraper or the windshield of a 737. They fall a ten or fifteen feet. Some go on to recover in mid-air, while others land, dazed, in the garden. Most gather their wits before the neighborhood cats find them, flying off while the chittering squirrels I call the “Peanut Gallery” mock them for their folly. Now and then, one lays panting and broken on the hot concrete, surrounded by empty peanut shells.
There’s a female cardinal intent on breaking into my house with nothing but her sharp, orange beak. She pauses, glares at me, and furiously resumes pecking. This goes on for hours. Someone suggested that perhaps she sees her reflection in the glass, and believes she’s fighting off another bird. I wonder if she doesn’t just hate herself – and me, for giving her a mirror that reflects her beady, angry eyes.
I left Twitter, this week.
I’ll be back, when I am feeling more like a wise old owl and less like that tiny little cardinal with its ruffled feathers and hate-filled eyes. I know that the squirrels know where all the nuts are buried, but will dig up the the herbs and peppers in my garden for fun while “searching” for them. Hosing them down with ice water grows tedious, even as my aim grows better. The parasitic cowbirds lie in wait, hoping that the mockingbirds abandon their nests while pretending to be cats. I have locked the nest away for safekeeping, from cowbirds and cats, alike. When the garden smells more like mint, peppers, and peanut butter than the tail end of a squirrel, I’ll be back.