The Hungry Pájaros

Ever since last month’s ice storm, the surviving birds have been in search of food. Normally at this time of year, trees would be budding, flowers blooming in the sea of verdant spring to which we are accustomed. Not this year. Everything is dead or brown. Or both. Our palm tree lost all its dozen fronds. Our oaks remain frozen in time, covered in ugly brown leaves that will not fall. The earth itself doesn’t know what season it is. It’s the ugliest I’ve ever seen Texas in my life because it was the coldest and the iciest it had ever been.

However, the cottonwood tree has begun putting out these yellow pods, for which the birds have gone crazy.

I’ve never seen so many birds on the branches of our cottonwood before. They stay for several minutes, then fly off, just as another drove comes to feast.

I do hope things will soon return to normal, in every sense of the word.

I

Cedar Waxwings Flummoxed By Snowvid Armageddon

Bird dynamics have been FUBAR during this frozen apocalypse. They appear to be much more sociable than in days of yore, flocking together and flying from icicle tree to icicle tree, wondering what in the name of the holy mother is going on. I know they are cedar waxwings because their little wingtips appear to have been dipped in red and yellow paint, and they wear that black mask which conveys a sense of outrage at Nature’s recent shenanigans. Here in central Texas, the old quote of “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink” keeps popping up, as we continue yet more days sans water. Yup, it’s snowing, but we can’t drink that, although we’ve melted 14 gallons of it so far to use to flush toilets. Last week, we filled up some Arizona tea jugs with tap water, so we still have that. I suppose the birds can lick the icicles?

I braved my death by stepping onto our icy front porch to toss them handfuls of hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds out of an abundance of my own grace and mercy upon them. They flew away. Perhaps that’s why we call them bird brains.

Mourning Doves Are Loud As All Get-Out

This morning, before church and before coffee, I caught not one, but FOUR doves in our cottonwood tree.

I wonder what this guy did to deserve such isolation. Perhaps he was in quarantine for the ‘rona, or bird flu.

The others gossiped about his lack of hygiene.

Then this little guy showed up (upper right hand corner), and though his breast looks yellow here, he looked lime green to the naked eye. Not sure what kind of bird he is, but he belted out a chirpy song, unlike the coo of the doves.

And just like that, they flew away.

When You Appreciate The Majesty Of Nature But Also You’re Super Hungry

Bolatbek, Eagle Hunter, Mongolia, 2017 by Oliver Klink

Okay, yes, that Mongolian is an eagle hunter. But he’s not eating the eagle; he’s using it to hunt. Deer hunters hunt and eat deer, but eagle hunters use the eagle prowess in a self-serving manner and consequently keep the eagle alive. They train the eagles to catch small animals such as foxes and hares, whose furry coats eagles can easily spot in the snow. Then the trainer eats them. You see? It’s all about the hierarchy of which animals we like. Is it okay to kill tuna to eat sandwiches? Absolutely. Is it okay if we accidentally kill a dolphin while we’re in the middle of murdering tuna? No way, Jose. It’s about which animals matter.

https://www.toursmongolia.com/

Obviously, in America, eagles are emblematic of our country. We do not train them, and instead use hawks in falconry. We do not touch them, or their nests, or their eggs, as this is prohibited in the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Though the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list in 2007, we continue to protect them as the symbol of our country. And we are certainly not alone in loving eagles. Mexico has a golden eagle on its flag, with a serpent in its talons, mid-murder. If that’s not badass, I don’t know what is.

Anley flag

And lest you think the mere association with eagles is not powerful, remember that The Eagles hold both the #1 and #3 spots of best-selling albums of all time (per http://www.mentalfloss.com). And that’s why we don’t stab eagles with steely knives.