It’s a jungle out there.
We know the rites of spring as rebirth and Disney-esque time-lapse photos of flowers blooming and birdsong and tall grass in meadows, but truthfully, there is a violence to this season AND DON’T LOOK AT THE LAST PHOTOS IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH.
It was all going well for awhile. We have a sweet little hummingbird nest the size of a tea strainer in our port cochére. Mrs. HB thrums, furious as a hornet, every time we open the kitchen door.
And another bird – a nuthatch? A chickadee? is nesting, inexplicably, deep in a swag of fake and inexplicably bright pink bougainvillea, that has hung (inexplicably – please ask the CE what this is all about) in our garage for the twenty-five years we have lived in this house. She darts back and forth, seemingly undaunted by faux silk blooms and cars coming and going.
So far, so good, spring.
But then, the squirrels started committing suicide. What is it with squirrels and cars? The CE and I have each had to slam on our brakes this week when squirrels have thrown themselves in front of our cars. Those two survived within an inch of their bushy tails, but a walk around the neighborhood tells me we are in immediate need of some squirrel crossing guards.
But that’s not the worst of it.
That bucolic little birdbath under the oaks?
It has become, in recent weeks, a no-go zone. To be approached only with latex gloves and a bottle of bleach.
Don’t be so squeamish, you say? Well, DON’T LOOK,
but this is what I found first:
I TOLD YOU NOT TO LOOK!
Mon dieu! Did a nestling fall from the trees? But, but, but – the decapitation? I pondered it over and over. Spring has become most unsettling.
I suspected it had something to do with the crows that have been increasingly seen loitering at the birdbath. And sure enough, a few days ago I spied one that seemed to be performing overlong ablutions there. It flew off as I approached and I was rewarded with this sight that, I AM WARNING YOU, cannot be unseen:
And all this time, I have labored under the illusion that crows eat seeds and nuts.
A bit of research reveals that a) crows delight in carrion and b) they are especially prone to presenting moistened food to their babies in order to keep the little ones hydrated. Sooooo, what looks like a horror movie to me is actually just Mother’s Day in the crow world. (Still, mon dieu!)
Perhaps now I can more fully understand why a group is a “murder” of crows and a flock of ravens is known as an “unkindness”. All in all, however, I’m ready to fast-forward to summer, because I’m finding that spring is nothing to crow about…