Bird Life (and death) on Goose Creek
My mom was here for a few days last week. We were chatting about one of her trips to Virginia back long ago when we’d first moved here. She heard the kids–who were 3 and 8 at the time–talking about the “indigo bunny” they’d seen. She had never seen a sky-blue rabbit so naturally she was curious.
She remembered a view of the bird–by a similar name–for the first time on our gravel road later that visit. She was stunned by the color–deep irridescent blue, always her favorite.
On the second day of her visit last week, she and I stood out by the garden taking in the first warmth of the sun as it crests the eastern ridge.
“There!” and I nudged her arm and pointed to the top of the tallest tree across the road–the bare gaunt branches of a dying hemlock.
“Listen. They sing everything in pairs” and I crudely mimicked the Indigo Bunting’s whistled couplets so she could pick out the call the next time the bright blue male warned away other male intruders into his territorial claim.
“You almost always see them far away and high up” I said. And the very next day, the one you see here was dead on the front porch. I think that must have been the thump on the window just above my desk the day before .
Sorry the beak is not in focus; the color pattern is unlike any of the pictures of the bird I find, though the dark upper bill and lighter lower bill seems common.
From the back porch that same day I’d heard the distinctive shrill warble of one of our black-on-red Scarlet Tanagers and called mom out to listen.
“You rarely see them after the leaves come out” I said, and just then the brilliant male moved to a branch to the outside of the maple’s shadowed branches into a shaft of morning sun. Mom had the binocs and with a little roving, found the bird, watching it sing its song as if it were performing at the Met. How cool was that!