On the road…again!!!
Essays, Stories, Adventures, Dreams
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Why Are The Birds Sending Me Signs?
They swoop in when they decide to congregate, they pick at their feasts in front of your eyes, and they stay until their leaders tell them to fly away. All you can do is wonder why. Where did the congregations come from? and where do they go after the feast?
The befuddled observer who calls himself the Footloose Forester can attest to seeing a few blue jays one morning, more the next day, and 8-9 the following day, but never seeing them thereafter. That was in Pennsylvania where the colder weather is perhaps more to their liking. Here in Virginia, the congregations are more frequent and composed of more species. But the congregations are not held every year.
Over the years, there were the days of 60-80 Canada geese on the small pond across the way, and some days of mostly buffle ducks. They flew in, stayed a few days, and flew away. Come once but never come again. There were some days of mostly starlings, some days of mostly grackles, and one year we had dozens of grosbeaks. But the most puzzling episodes were those few short days in mid-February, a few years ago when hundreds of robins descended on the front lawn. Only robins; and they showed up only on two successive days. Now comes the flashback and why the compulsion to pen a chronicle. On the second day of only robins on the lawn, they stayed only an hour or so. After they were gone, they were replaced by hundreds of red-winged black birds. They dropped out of the sky a few at a time until the whole lawn was blanketed by red-winged black birds. It was a sign of something happening, but the Footloose Forester is still trying to reason why. The mysteries of Captain’s Cove are compelling enough to want to see more in the future. He got his ensuing episode in 2023, but he cannot say it fulfilled his wish.
When the hundreds of figs were ripening on the solitary fig tree astride the driveway, the Footloose Forester was wondering how he could conserve the impending harvest of figs with minimum waste. He started off the harvest season by eating 2-3 figs directly from the tree, “look Ma, no hands” style by biting them directly from the branches. Then, he started making phone calls to friends and asking them if they were interested in coming to pick figs. He also harvested about five dozen and put them in a basket that he delivered to his friends. In the meantime, a few cardinals and dozens of a dark-colored bird species were planning a feast at the fig tree. Make that a feast on the fig tree, or in the fig tree. The Footloose Forester did not get close enough to positively identify the species of bird that came to feed at about 10:00 a.m. each day. They may have been Dark-eyed juncos but the species was one he was not used to seeing in his neighborhood. After the tree was virtually pecked free of fresh figs, the dozens upon dozens of juncos(?) were not to be seen again—some stuff you just can’t make up.