Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Flying Leaves and Falling Wings

bluebird in dogwood tree

bluebird in dogwood tree

A skiff of snow fell overnight, and in the morning, the dogwood tree in the front yard, so glorious just days before, wore its leaves in patches like a mangy dog. A bluebird flew in and landed on one of the thin branches. 

cedar waxwing in dogwood tree

Another joined it, then another, followed by waxwings and robins, as if the fallen leaves had sprouted wings overnight and were back, standing in as replacements. It isn't a bad trade-off. For the leaves, their first flight is their last, but the birds keep flying. They animate the tree in a way leaves never can.

The few dogwood berries that remained were strewn on the ground. Taking stock of the inventory, the birds hopped to the ground to bolt down their breakfast. One bluebird peered under a leaf, located a neon red berry and swallowed it whole in one gulp. Within a few minutes, the flock had cleared the yard of berries and moved on. 

Purple finch

Not all of the birds were so fortunate. A purple finch crashed into our sliding glass door and laid on the deck like a fallen leaf before struggling to its feet. Listing to one side, it perched wobbly, hanging on to life with a tenacity known to wild things. Hoping to shelter it from the frigid breeze, I took an old towel outside, shaping it with a cavity for a windbreak, and gingerly set the bird inside.

The finch rested there, unresponsive for some time, an uneaten sunflower seed still in its beak. 

Purple finch

After a while, it dropped the seed, lifted its head, and surveyed the surroundings with a renewed recognition. It seemed to remember, for the first time in a while, that it could fly. 

Purple finch

With a swift motion, it picked up the seed again, hopped to the top of the towel, and lifted off. One fallen leaf had taken flight.


Margaret Adamson said...

Fabulous close ups of these birds Connie

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I really enjoyed your photographs of the birds in your dogwood. I was feeling so sorry for the little finch. I'm glad you sheltered it with a towel. It may not have survived otherwise.

Brian King said...

These are gorgeous!