Stuffed birds aren’t always in museums. Sometimes they’re perched in trees, crammed to the tops of their crops. They get sleepy, their heads tilt and eyes glaze over; they are simply stupefied by gluttony. Drawing songbirds through the scope is kind of a rare thing as a rule but I got an opportunity this week when a big load of holly berries ripened by the porch. The fruit’s been luscious red for ages, but it’s only been in the past week that every bird in the neighborhood’s been lining up for seconds and thirds. With this cold spring, maybe the fruit got a little frost bitten. Maybe that improves the flavor.
By the middle of the week, a carousel of flying waxwings was rotating from the just-barely leafing out Caddo maple to the Burford holly and back, each bird grabbing three or four gold rings and sitting still for five minutes of quiet digestion. That’s when I pulled a chair up to the edge of the porch, tilted the scope up, and put a sketchbook in the crook of my arm.
All the birds are cold and hungry- we’re having a late freeze- relatively bitter weather for our part of the country. Thankfully, the holly had a bumper crop this year, and there’s enough fruit for tomorrow, unless a really big flock turns up in the next hour or two. With luck, there could even be a bird carousel tomorrow.