Monday, November 21, 2005


This morning while watering the gardens the jays came in for snacks. The dish feeder had left over corn, peanuts, sunflower seed, and millet from yesterday and the birds were making due. As one lighted on the side of the dish feeder I watched as he selected a corn kernel and hopped further up in the cedar branches. The tree is barren of greenery for the most part so I was able to watch closely.

I thought he has swallowed the kernel but he had just been holding it. He placed it between his feet and began pecking at it until it broke into pieces. As he tilted his head back to swallow a piece, I saw it--his breath. It plumed out of his throat lazily and drifted about his head. He looked at me standing there mouth wide open--awed.

While I found a picture of a redwing blackbird singing and his warm breath stirring on the cool breeze, I have never been close enough to see it first hand.

Later on as the day warmed, the doe group grazed nearby. I walked out to check the mail and one doe moved close as I regarded the gardens. I went in and put birdseed in a bucket and laid it out in several small piles for her and her sisters to snack on. She approached me and I recognized her as the girl that entirely enjoyed the halloween pumpkins the boys threw in the yard for the deer to eat. One evening after dark I went outside only to see her devouring the inside of a pumpkin half, front feet holding down the rind.

Today one doe was constantly run off by her. I wonder about why the outcast hangs around if she doesn't get to share in finds. As she lurked behind the other two, her nose shined in the sun. I wondered if it were cold and was instantly taken back to the days at Wildlife Rescue of feeding hungry orphaned fawns this past spring. They weren't as hungry for food as they were the touch of warm skin. They licked and sucked any skin they could find be it leg, arm, even chin and nose. I think that goes for mammal babies across the board--there is inherent need for skin contact. Breastfeeding is so brilliant.