Catbird Seat

Slowly but surely, the four yards of mulch is disappearing into the garden beds, one wheelbarrow at a time.  Mulchapalooza 2011. I do this every year. What happens to it all?

It’s tedious, but I’ve had company: a gray catbird. Honestly, I could not swear it’s been the same catbird all along; you’d have to be pretty sharp to recognize individual catbirds — or be a catbird.

Anyway, the catbird has gotten in the habit of flitting down near where I’m working and keeping an eye on me. It picks through the newly mulched beds and flys off with stuff, often zipping by just a few feet from my head.

In one corner of the yard the catbirds have a nest. It’s deep inside a thorny bush that I’ve been thinking of pulling out, but now that the catbirds are living there all bets are off.

In the last few days around the feeder there have been cardinals, gold finches, chickadees, grackles (raucous and voracious), mourning doves, blue jays, and downy woodpeckers. The squirrels and chipmunks busily work the ground for dropped seed.

I’ve read recently about people poisoning chipmunks because their tunneling is a nuisance. I would never do that, mostly because the chipmunks are amusing — and because when you start spreading poison around your yard, you don’t know what it may kill.

No, the chipmunks get a pass. But attention moles: you are on notice.

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