MIKE KEELER: It’s Spring – We’ve Gone To A Bevy of Birds

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We can’t conceal the fact that every spring here in Joisey, we always have a DISSIMULATION of birds.

We get all the usual suspects. First comes the VATICAN of Cardinals, followed by a ROUND of Robins, a DULE of Doves, a CAULDRON of Blue Jays, a HOST of Sparrows, a HERD of Wrens, a MURMURATION of Starlings and finally a TREMBLING of Finches. But we wanted something unique. So a few years ago we went online and bought a huge house that needed to be constructed, painted and installed on a 20-foot pole. Alas, our efforts were in vain; we failed to attract a COLONY of Purple Martins.

Meanwhile, down at the pond, it’s a similar deal. WEDGES of Canada Geese pass overhead, and finally a GAGGLE lands on our property. They happily co-exist with the occasional SPRING of Teals or FLUSH of Mallards. They don’t even mind the odd visit by a Green or Blue Heron – but if a whole Heron BATTERY had ever shown up, who knows.…?

Twice we had deer die on our property. Each time the body was found by a KETTLE of Vultures within a day or so. The buzzards would alight as a COMMITTEE in the trees overhead, and then the whole WAKE would bounce down onto and all around the carcass. Twenty four hours later…nothing but Bambi bones.

We get huge FLOCKS of Turkeys that wander through every now and then, so unconcerned with us that they are a veritable RAFTER.

Once we were in the local nursery and saw something unusual: a box for Wood Ducks. (We had read that Wood Ducks inhabit holes, like the kind created by a DRUMMING of Woodpeckers in a dead tree. But would they live in a man-made box?) We bought it and hung it up, and almost immediately it became home to…a FAMILY of Screech Owls. So we bought a second box. Nothing happened for a year or two except that the Owls would alternate from box to box. This week we looked out and saw both boxes were now inhabited; what a hoot, we’ve got an entire PARLIAMENT of Owls.

Which is ironic because the very next day who should arrive but…a SAFE of Wood Ducks! They waddled around on the shore, jumped into the pond and formed a PADDLING, and then looked up to see their houses occupied by Owls. Oh well. Looking a little forlorn, they formed a SKEIN and flew away.

And so spring has sprung. The entire VOLERY of birds is settling in, under the watchful eyes of our Crow MURDER.

(It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the Crows discover that KETTLE of Cooper’s Hawks nesting in the back forty…)

Mike Keeler

– Mike Keeler