There’s a dead cypress tree in our backyard — a diminished-looking thing that one might otherwise consider an eyesore if it were not for the fact that it attracts birds like a magnet.
A couple of months ago, I spotted a northern flicker perched on one of the parched branches — pretty exciting, considering this is a species I typically spot only when I am up in the higher elevations of nearby Mount Charleston.
Regardless, the primary visitor to the tree for the past few weeks has been the house finch. The males are more interesting to look at due to their auburn flourishes, while the females are drab with their washed-out white and brownish hues.
Still, one interesting aspect of the females I’ve noticed lately through observation is how they throw themselves at the males. It’s funny: Several will gather around a sole male on a branch and make a fuss over it, often ending in unrequited admiration, with the male abruptly fleeing the scene. Continue reading “A cypress’ second life (plus a fun finch fact)”
Adult northern mockingbird (Credit:: National Audubon Society)
Juvenile northern mockingbird (Credit: unknown)
Perch Report – Spring Valley, Nev.
It’s no biggie to see Northern mockingbirds since they’re so common in Southern Nevada, but over the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of watching an adult feed its three fledglings in my yard.
It has been tirelessly zipping around each day in the hopes of finding insects to pluck from the soil or from flight and place into the beaks of its young. Meanwhile, as they await their food, the juveniles struggle to keep their balance while perching on palm fronds and twigs, often flapping their wings and shuffling their feet as if newbie skaters on an ice rink. Continue reading “Mini mockingbirds”
I just finished a big fat biography on J.S. Bach. I like his music, but one of my primary reasons for reading it was to gain an understanding of why he’s so sanctified as far as how he’s perceived and recalled in the cultural consciousness. He earned his money primarily from composing music for Christian religious services, so there’s that, resulting in a good chunk of his compositional cache sounding liturgical.
Still, as I made my way through the 600 pages, I had hoped to come across some mention of incidents depicting him as fallible or human rather than untarnished/invincible deity. He did land himself in jail once for insubordination against his employer, but it was a minor incident blown way out of proportion by his superiors. Anyway, it’s interesting how his pristine public persona runs parallel with the saintliness valued in Christianity, especially back in Bach’s day. Continue reading “Bach’s spotless image”
As far as I knew, I was lying on the grass, looking at the sky. Come to find out I was staring up at the roof of your mouth and its scattered white clouds. What gave it away were your lips, and how I noticed that they were lips to begin with was when I saw a second sky after you rose for air. I used to think this was my grave, staring up from this distance, like people would come and bury me. And now I realize that your teeth are the trees, towering like delicate aspens and darkened in silhouette, with the sun shining from behind like a new day.
Notes from the sky
Constellations coming down
A sudden C-sharp; the fall of F-minor
Chords being torn from the Milky Way
The universe in a solemn key
A sparkling operatic voice emanating from the 7-Eleven — strong soprano notes.
A woman passing, stunned, looked around her as if someone called her name, or like something she lost long ago was suddenly within walking distance.