Thursday, November 27, 2008

Unexpected Guests

Our backyard has been heading rapidly into winter sleep mode. The trees in the woods backing the yard have lost almost all their leaves, thrusting their stark brown silhouettes upwards into the sky. Of the plants that pop up to visit only during the warmer months, there is no sign that they ever were here. Even the needles of the evergreen conifers have taken on a duller hue. There are bare spots all over where once there was vibrant color. Even the grass has faded.

And yet... Just now we had unexpected guests, guests who popped in for a Thanksgiving meal. A nesting pair of cardinals is busy out in the grass eating course after course. The blazing red of the male lends a welcome spot of color in what is becoming a beige and brown landscape. They are fascinating to watch. They have been moving systematically from one side of the yard to the other, covering the territory inch by inch. Here and there they stop to toss a leaf aside to see what morsels may be hiding underneath. There's a small puddle to one side of the yard and every so often they hop over to take a drink before returning to the rest of their meal.

It's easy to chart their progress; all I need do is look for the male's bright plummage. Strange, in the animal world it is the male that needs to deck himself out in eye catching "clothing." It's the male who needs to strut to catch the female's eye.

They've fully crossed the yard from one side to the other and are now working their way back across the yard picking up any missed goodies along the way. They seem to be working on the proposition "Waste not, want not."

It's late in the season for the cardinals to be here but I'm thankful that they decided to drop in and make us their "restaurant" of choice. They are the kinds of guests I always enjoy. They eat whatever is out on the table, they don't pick at their food and they go back for seconds. They clearly enjoy each other's company, and if they have any personal problems they have clearly left them behind as they join us. Whatever the reason they have graced us with their presence, they are more than welcome here. Come back any time!


Anonymous said...

I realllly wish I had gotten your unexpected company instead of the ones I got. Yours sound much better behaved and more polite.

Anonymous said...

If you ever decide to sell your house please keep me in mind. I'd love to show my kids that there are other kinds of wildlife in NYC besides what they see in the zoo and the kind they see out on the streets.