Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The cedar waxwing visitation and the death of an idyllic backyard moment

Boyfriend and I were getting ready for dinner guests on Saturday - he cooking and I cleaning - when I looked out the window into our back yard and spied something lovely: A flock of beautiful little birds was perched all around the edge of a 15-gallon earthenware crock, taking turns drinking and dipping in for a little bath.

It took my breath away. These were not the usual denizens of our yard - bluejays, phoebes, mockingbirds, flickers or magpies. These were rare and beautiful visitors, bellies of yellow turning to brown so gently that you'd thenk they were drawn with colored charcoal. Little black bandit masks across the eyes, and a little brown crest.

We stopped what we were doing to watch. Even more of them were in our silver maple, and replacements would come down from the tree to take their turn at the crock, which we really should've emptied long ago because mosquito season is around the corner. Read more...
"They've been here before," Boyfriend said. I nodded - I remembered. They're like the geese that fly over our house once a year. If you're lucky and you're home at that precise moment, you see them on their way through. It's the kind of stuff I never noticed when I was younger and had no connection to the seasons.

Now seasons are everything to me. I know it sounds sappy, but I felt blessed to witness this moment. I was too enchanted to break away to get my camera.

Then something in the yard startled them and they all lifted from the crock's edge to settle in the tree. It was like a signal to Boyfriend and me to get back to work.

Later, when the house was all clean and our guests were about to arrive, I happened to glance out the back door onto our deck and I gasped.

"Oh. My. God."

"What?" Boyfriend yelled from the kitchen.

There was purple crap all over the deck. All over the gas grill (which was covered, thankfully). All over the ice chest I should've put away. Everywhere. Our deck looked like a purple crap Dalmatian.

I moved closer to the screen door and peered up at the birds, which were still in the maple, now occupying a branch over our neighbor's shed. I could hear it.

Plop. Plop. Plop plop. PLOP!

Crap bombs. They were crapping prodigiously. And there was no time to clean the deck.

"I don't like them anymore," I yelled in the general direction of the kitchen.

* * *

Later Boyfriend looked in our Western Birds book and determined that they were cedar waxwings.

"Berry eaters," he said.

"You think?" I asked.

Hmph. I'm ready for the next season, thank you.

© Holly A. Heyser 2010


Anonymous said...

LOL! And to think that I've always wanted them to come visit me! No thanks, I'll just enjoy the pictures. Pictures don't poop!

Chad Love said...

Holly,somewhere on one of my hard drives I've got a great pic of a cedar waxwing eating a berry. If I can find it I'll post it in your honor.

Beautiful birds, but you're right: they never stop crapping. Pretty common around here. And if they find a mulberry tree....

Holly Heyser said...

Lord, I didn't think they had any berries to eat now, but apparently they did!

I used to call phoebes the crap bird because they will crap big monuments underneath the perch where they launch their assaults on insects. When their perch was the faucet, that irritated me. But when we gave them suitable structure in the garden, they left the faucet alone. Thank God.

And kmurray, you're right, pictures don't poop. Enjoy!

Galen Geer said...

Ahh, the joy of nature.
You lifted my spirits when I was feeling a little down. I loved it! I know I shouldn't feel that way, but I laughed and laughed.

murphyfish said...

Ah Holly LOL really enjoyed your post, and yes being connected with the seasons like this brings it's own reward, but remember now; with every silver lining cometh the cloud.

Barbara Baird said...

Just like life, ain't it? You get crapped on when you least expect it.
However, you took the bad and turned it into something good -- we all got a chuckle. Thanks.

Tovar@AMindfulCarnivore said...

LOL, Holly.

I've learned to hang the back porch birdfeeders OUT UNDER THE OVERHANG, not directly over the railing. Gravity has predictable results.

Anonymous said...

When I was a little girl, my mom pointed out the cedar wax wings. She was always happy to see them even with the mess they made. They would show up with the crazy robins to clean off the cotoneaster and pyracantha and toyon berries. They are fun to watch but Yeah, they are super dooper (party) poopers. I don't know if I ever saw any that were actually drunk on the berries but I have sure seen some wacky flying on their part.


Marian Ann Love said...

Enjoyed your post Holly...that was really funny, funny, funny! :)

SimplyOutdoors said...

I can so relate to this post. When we park in our driveway the birds crap on the car continuously. I honestly can't figure out any way to get them to stop, or to keep them away from our vehicles. It's annoying.

I'm sorry to hear that your majestic view turned into a definite annoyance.

Stupid berry eaters!!!

hooter said...

I've seen them ruin a cars paint job.They are pretty but, only at your neighbors...

Holly Heyser said...

Funny you mention that, Hooter. I finally found time to scrub down the deck yesterday and regretted taking that long - that poop did indeed eat the paint in several spots. And we just got it painted last September! Argh.