Flight


The birds started showing up at 9:30 Sunday morning. At least that is when I first noticed them. Not all at once, so someone might notice them, but one at a time, so that someone would slowly become ‘aware’ of them.


I went on with my Sunday morning: reading the paper, Sunday news shows on low in the background, wooden door open so I could watch the coming and going of neighbors. And now the birds.


After I could see thirty of forty in the front yard, I went to the backdoor to check and, yes, there were thirty or forty birds in the backyard as well. My side yard I cannot see well from the first floor, so – rather than go upstairs – I assumed there would be thirty or forty birds waiting in the grass there as well.


Only one side, as I own an end unit townhome. If I had a middle unit, there would likely be less birds to worry with.


Grackles, I presume. The invasive species brought to America so that all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare plays could be housed on this continent. I am no ornithologist, but I have annoyed by birdwatchers and have retained some bird identification skills. I don’t think that the birds fret that I cannot for certain categorize them.


More birds keep arriving. One now, one thirty seconds later, another in a minute and a half. The ground is quite covered with them. Now they have begun to squat on the hood of my car. I am not so sure I like that. Bird claws could scratch through the clear coat, damage the paint. There are probably other reasons I should be angry at the birds.


Normally, I don’t mind birds. I used to have a bird feeder out back, until I found the squirrels were climbing it and stealing seed. Funny, I put in the seed for the birds, and took it back when I discovered it benefited the squirrels.


I wonder if that is what this is all about.


The wife comes downstairs from practicing her flute and sees the birds. Since she has not been watching them gather as I have, she is alarmed. She goes to the front door to see if there are birds on the neighbors’ lawns as well. I don’t want to know. I can see from where I sit through the glass door two or three of the neighbors’ yards across the street, but I have not registered them yet.


The wife lets out a reedy child-like gasp.


I fold my paper, try to remember if I stored the bird feeder in the shed or threw it out. I imagine now is the time for good gestures.


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