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Birdled Titmouse

April 14, 2008

Mom, checking in with a story about the dog, unlucky, risky birds and eating lunch on the porch….

There are some Bridled Titmouse working on building a nest in the wren house I put up last year on the front porch of the cabin. It is high, off to the side, near the ceiling on one of the logs. They may share this house with the wrens, if they do something like that here in the Texas Hill Country. I watch them from my perch in the cabin, where I rest each day after working outside and eating lunch. I linger alittle longer to watch the them. Today, I got distracted by a surprise visitor.
I was interrupted by a young, Blue Jay who lost his way at high speed and knocked himself out cold as his head came in contact with one of my porch windows, not the one I was looking through. Since Gypsy was outside that window, I moved quickly to see where she was and if she heard the noise the jay made when it hit. When I saw her, she was showing interest in the sound she had just heard. I jumped up, ran outside and sat on the porch to babysit the eye blinking jay until it flew away. Now, don’t jump to conclusions. Just because some young, inexperienced Blue Jay lost his way and ended up unconscious on Gypsys, porch, does not mean, if she could have, she would have clenched her teeth around it and smiled. She has boundless compassion for small injured birds and lizards. However, she does have forgetful moments. This happens as we get older. She gives everyone a fair chance. The lizard she killed was sick and the dove she brought me was already dead from its slap on the head from the cabin window. Or we might say, we assume this was the case. It is true, that concerning many of these events, we will never really know the exact truth. We trust her to be the well disciplined dog we know her to be. She may shave a few edges off what she tells me, but I trust her implicitly. Now back to the Birdled Titmouse.
There are two titmice who come and go from the birdhouse on the porch bringing bits and pieces of grass and twigs for their nest. They take turns entering the house. One goes inside and the other leaves for more nest material or remains perched on top of a nearby log. In an effort to stay closer to the hole in the birdhouse, one of the titmice hangs upside down. Its tiny, claw like feet hang on tightly to the groove under the log, close to the birdhouse. It has difficulty hanging upside down for long periods of time, so it begins to flutter its wing, in a steady, non stopping motion. This gives ballast, so it can continue to hang there, up side down waiting for its mate to finish building their nest. I saw them again later and one of them did the same thing again hanging on the side of the birdhouse. This is a first for me. I have never seen a bird flutter its wings just to help maintain a holding a precarious perch. Usually, they just fly up, land, sit and wait. They are on the front porch, so they are not threatened by Gypsy if they fall. Perhaps this is why they are willing to risk, a questionable, upside down grip that could potentially result in another grip in Gypsys’ mouth. Though these situations are my conjured moments, they may hold a word of truth. Gypsy likes birds who takes risks. She patiently points, watches and waits.

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