The piece of paradise that we call home is also home to a lot of critters. We hear coyotes at night. But we would often see deer up close and personal. They ate the fallen plums and the grass. They drank from the birdbath.
The next year the drought began to impact us. There were fewer deer. We went from having 14 in our front yard to two does running in our back yard. In spring, they would show in the field with their fawns. They are rarely here now. They don’t like dogs or garlic both of which are in abundance here.
We still encourage other critters. Specifically, we like the birds. From the hummingbirds to the quail to the little brown birds, they all visit.
The hummingbirds found plenty of nourishment but the ones that found a home with us were the little brown birds.
One day a young bird, not long from the nest, made a serious navigational error and bounced off our front window. Spouse was sitting on the porch not five feet from the young thing. It lay stunned on the porch, not moving. Spouse thought it was dead.
But he did what he had done for a fledgling dove when we lived elsewhere. He picked it up and gently stroked its head and wings. It was not long before the bird responded. It edged out to Spouse’s fingers and sat there for awhile.
With more patience than I knew he had, spouse stood there until the fledgling decided to give it a go.
The real amazing part of this whole story is that, just like the dove before it, the fledgling came back and went directly to the Spouse. Flew into his hand.
And soon after that, Mr. Hummingbird stopped by to say hello!
We like to think that they were expressing their gratitude.
The birds still come and peck in the front yard or sit on the porch railing for a time. The birdbath is communal and all are welcome. Deference is given to the Bird Man.
Until the vulture showed up.
Then the yard becomes very, very quiet.