Life With Horace

poetry & essays


a burst of chickadees

despite the morning’s
snow and wind,
the birds came, knowing
they would feed here
in the sheltered tuck
of our house’s ell.
when they had
picked it clean,
I ventured out
with snow drunk dogs
to heap the platform
high with seed again
and stuff the suet grid.
as I struggled,
being short,
to place the hanger
on an apple branch,
a flutter led my eye
to see a burst
of small black caps,
spread scattershot
through apple arms
and lilac upright spray,
brassy bold, waiting for
their feast,
and us to go.

not knowing what form the snow would take, it was a shock to see upwards of 30 birds (no exaggeration) together at our feeders this morning, in the middle of swirling snow and wind. mourning doves, jays, chickadees, cardinals, titmice, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, a red bellied woodpecker, slate colored juncoes, the odd sparrow all came and went, constant movement, an amazing sight. our chickadees are pretty fearless, and they regularly wait (and scold us if they think we move too slowly) when the other birds have fled. the sight of 15 or so of them spread out in the branches while I filled the feeders was marvelous.