Let’s get back to nature and present day. It is Audobon’s Great Backyard Bird Count … today’s  prompt is “backyard bird”.

I have a large backyard with lots of trees,  so I have lots of flying visitors … that I do not encourage.

It’s not that I dislike birds – I envy them and their power of flight (those gorgeous powerful wings!) – truly one of nature’s best creations. I have even had pet parakeets when my son was a babe. And my dad was a passionate birder – instill it into me and my son.

Swifts – digital photography by CC Willow

During summer I have a sweep of tiny birds that acrobatically swoop among my cherry trees, catching bugs, before settling down for the night among the branches. It’s always a fascinating evening show.

We also get robins, wrens,  owls, an occasional eagle, swifts.

My son has an on-going feud with two crows; it’s comical …  until he’s on a graveyard shift – then the crows just get cruel. Yes – I love my backyard birds!

But I also have pet cats. Who go outdoors. Who like to hunt. So …

I won’t lure birds with birdseed or suet or an easily -accessible nesting birdhouse. I won’t lure them to their doom. Let my neighbors with house-bound cats feed them, scatter seed on their ground for them; I won’t.

I have, at times out of resignation, trained my cats to exchange the birds they’ve caught – IF it is still alive – for a cat treat. They bring it to me, get a juicy morsel of beef or tuna – I get to send a still-beating heart to the wildlife refuge where it will heal, eventually be released and be more wary of cats. I much prefer this to finding the earlier gifts of dead birds.

I could complain more about it – but, thanks to my cats, I don’t have the mole or rodents problems some of my neighbors have. I love my efficient little assassins.

So … backyard birds. Yes. There’s a dozen of poems & metaphors I can write there.

What about you? What backyard bird tales do you have that you can share?

And, from today until the 19th,  take 15 minutes to inventory your birds, yeah? Post your findings at  birdcount.org.