Thursday, February 18, 2010

Raven Hill

I woke up to the singing of a cheeseburger bird the other morning. Laying in the coziness of my bed, eyes still shut, but mind gracefully awakened. I smiled.

Cheeeeseburger. Cheeeeeeseburger.

Well, that's what it sounds like anyway. They're actually Chickadees. The morning call sounds like cheesesburger and the evening call sounds like chicka dee deee deeee. Either way, I was happy to hear it. Spring.

Funny hearing spring from outside my bedroom window. I guess that's why I left my eyes closed. So I could imagine the heat of the sun and green grass. I let myself lay in the daydream for a while, rather than crawl out to the reality of 2 feet of snow. No harm in it, it was Sunday.

I love where we live. One reason is the birds.

I first met them while standing in the field. The ravens' stealthy flight betrayed by the swoosh of wind over their wingspan. Six of them came flying over from the south. Hanging so low I could reach up and touch them. They coo to each other and speak in series of click clacks that sound alien. Without understanding the meaning I still found it oddly comforting. Kind. A conversation. The six veer off in pairs. Each to their own nest. Neighbours in a community. One pair nests in the woods just out of sight from the house. Their coos and click clacks could be heard all summer and soon the pair was joined in flight by two more. A family of four.

Last spring the ravens prepared their nest. In the same clump of trees on the east side of the house. Hidden from our prying eyes. But then something changed from the year before. A murder of crows, strictly forbidden by the ravens from entering the airspace above our fields, gathered across the road. The meeting could be heard for miles. Apparently crows don't take turns when talking.

The next day the ravens were gone and a dozen crows sat in our yard, on the fence post, in the pasture. The ravens had been dethroned. Their nest was empty. No young were born. The pair stayed, but did not defend their territory against the crows. I guess there was no reason. No young to protect. Ravens mate for life. In their marriage they share the successful seasons as well as those of loss. I felt bad for the pair.

After climbing from bed the other morning, with the chickadees song still in my mind, I looked out the window to see if I could catch a glimpse of the bird that brought me spring. Instead, I see the pair of ravens, perched in the old dead birch that we call the raven tree. Not a crow to be seen.


Carol said...


I hope you're happy!!

Bon said...

i now WANT to hear a chickadee.

or maybe i just want a cheeseburger. :)