Birds


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For a few weeks in spring, some species of birds
appear just briefly in our frequented spaces. As Little Crum Creek swells with rain,
the black and white warbler comes and goes with May.

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Already, down by the creek, Japanese knotweed obscures a view
of the green heron’s usual work.

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That’s why it’s a special treat to spy one up in the trees
casting a gaze across its fishing bill.

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a white-breasted nuthatch

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stashing seeds in furrows

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for a long snowy winter.

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dark-eyed junco

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inspecting snow, limb, & sky

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to satisfaction

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 a downy woodpecker up and faces the new year’s winter

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Some parts of our nature we might never see.
But under a rising moon, out from a waning season,
an imploring eastern screech owl sounds — savor the mystery.

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Unmoved by the russet flagging rump of a parent’s coaxing,
a fledgling gray catbird stakes its steadfast perch in the rain.

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Here by the water, an unassuming gray catbird rests a minute from mewing.
For color, it could mimic the songs of many other birds, ever
contributing wonder to the sense of what we’ve heard.

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Summer’s dense foliage makes it tough to spot a kingfisher
as it rattles along the Little Crum corridor sounding the creek loudly for prey.

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But the constant call of a female, tracing low flights over the water,
recently made like a beacon through the bare limbs of a bright January day.

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Last March I watched a solitary Pekin duck

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make close friends with a mallard

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before matting a bed of grass on the rocky banks of Ridley Park Lake.

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The Pekin, I’ve read, is a domesticated mallard,
bred in China for thousands of years before it was brought to New York in the 187os.

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Paddling through the winter lake,

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some stick close together,

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especially this group of five,

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 which includes one duck curiously colored …
any ideas why?

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Update:  A reader’s close observations of these lake ducks lead me to agree that the the curious-looking gray one is, as she points out, an Indian Runner.  For more, see the comments by brookeduffy. Thanks, Brooke!

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