The afternoon rolls gently towards evening, the sun lowering almost perceptibly. I watch bemused the whimsical moves of a cluster of strutting crows just beyond the kitchen door. They peck desultorily for possible crumbs in the dog bowl. It pings and rocks about. The rascals show their disappointment in birdie body language, their hops lacking the bounce of discovery, lackluster compared to when they find a neglected bonanza. You silly twits, I mutter. The dogs had it better than usual today – the help mixed the dry dog food with bacon grease and shredded tortillas; not a scrap was left behind. The muchachas love our pets and treat them well.
Not so much the parrot. In the rush of an impulse I had bought him from a roadside vendor years ago. He has a miserable temperament, eager to bite the hand that feeds him. From time to time I have left his cage door open to liberty, but he sits firmly fixed to his perch. He likes his home. He is safe there. His needs are taken care of. And a hawk might grab him should he fly free; they pass overhead from time to time. He’s probably forgotten how to fly, anyway.
Herd of cattle. Choir of larks. Gaggle of geese. Kettle of hawks (now where did that come from?). Murder of crows. I’ve always recoiled from the label a “murder” of crows. They’re not a murder – they’re a bustling, scrapping, cluster. Nothing so offensive as “murder” just because they present as sinister black and gimlet golden-eyed. These toddle about with beaks pointed snootily up in the air, as if peering at the sky. But in watching them, I’ve concluded that actually they’re raising that nose-beak out of the way so they better can see forward, around it, to scan for goodies. You think?
Now chickadees are scrounging. It tickles me to find them as habitués of Mexico. Do they proliferate worldwide? I’ll have to check that out. Sometimes I think they and the sparrow are like the cubic block of air – each in the world carries a speck of dust from everywhere else in the world. True? I doubt it, but I fancy the idea. Little brown birds are pretty ubiquitous.
Now in flits the bright red cardinal, a flashy creature with a high fanlike crest of feathers, a close cousin to his Yankee kin. But fancier and braver. Must be the Mexican sunlight, and the masses of hot pink bougainvillea he has for cover. He and his mate are nesting now, their calls less frequent as they tend to business. And the doves? The atmosphere is loudly resonating with plaintive dove calls. They’re at it too, this mating season. Cu-cu-ca-rooo, over and over. And over. My husband wryly refers to it as the maddening call of the attack dove, the “Here I am, over here babe, you know I’m the best!” And on the ground, senorita paloma scurries rapidly for sunflower seeds while her pursuer hunches his wings like shoulders, lowering his head as he bulls forward in pursuit. She’s hilariously uncooperative. How they ever breed amazes me, since she’s so staunchly negative. Nests abound in the thickets, so I reckon plenty got caught. The small blackbird, a species of thrush, is getting lucky. He spreads his wings, hops on missy’s back – and though she shakes him off, perhaps we’ll have wee ones of those, too.
The perfume of jasmine wafts through the open door, along with the tedious invitations of the dove. It’s fecund glorious spring here, and we enjoy every moment of it. Anywhere in the world, it’s a miraculous, good thing.
Interesting how Mothers’ Day and mating season come at the same time.
From doves to do~nas (can’t do the tilde), HAPPY HOORAYS FOR MAMAS!