All of a sudden the avian population seems to be catching my attention. First it was the “sitting duck” mamma down at the Rite Aid in the landscape mulch, then it was the geese and goslings, duck and ducklings down on the creek behind the house, then it was the blue heron below the dam, which has been replaced by a serene , white swan farther back in the calmer waters just before the lake in back of Carlson’s. I don’t believe that there are any cygnets—baby swans—anywhere (adult males are cobs, females are pens) but I’m not about to climb down into the ravine by Russells to find out. Swans have a reputation for being just a bit stand-offish and as likely as not to come after anyone who disturbs their stately progress across any body of water. They’ll come after intruders with wings and their serrated-edge bill and are capable of causing some damage. I don’t need any damage that I haven’t already caused myself.
Ooops! I lied; the blue heron was back next morning. He/She flew off down the creek beneath the tree canopy, looked sort of like a smallplane. It was NOT a drone.
Then there was the pair of ducks that have been seen coming up from the creek across the road in back of the Y and heading who-knows-where across the road and through the Park Ave. park. Are they going to the other creek for a vacation? Are they playing on the swings and such on the way? Do they stop and visit with the turkey vultures which hang out on the water tower? Who knows? It’s just that every time that it was raining last week, there they were, waddling along through the grass, heading uphill and, apparently, thoroughly enjoying the “weather for ducks”. Apparently, as well, either they’ve either learned to look both ways before crossing the street or motorists have been alert—and considerate—enough to allow them safe passage in their travels.
And speaking of the Rite Aid ducklings, word has it that there may be a pictorial display of some kind during SummerFest so that their followers may get a look at how they’re doing in their current digs. The pictures are about as cute as any baby bird can be. Mamma Duck seems to have taken off without a second thought (maybe she’s one of the Y ducks), believing the little ones to be in good hands…which they are. Stay tuned for more information. That’s The Villager…All the News That’s Fit to Print” .
All this attention to birds springs partly from the fact that they are singing up a storm every morning lately and I keep wondering which is which is what. Can’t tell from the songs but they are definitely loud and lovely. Heck, I can’t even tell which is which when I see them. Get past cardinals, robins, blue jays and red-winged blackbirds and I’m pretty much totally at sea (We do occasionally see gulls in big parking lots, courtesy of the St. Lawrence Seaway which encouraged the seabirds to “follow the money”, so to speak, when ocean-going ships started arriving in Cleveland and Buffalo and even Chicago and Milwaukee, trailing their garbage and such behind them—instant smorgasbord!). I’ve got to obtain some bright flowers to entice a hummingbird or two, the feeders have not always been successful. My mom has what seems to be a whole colony of them—cute little things, with an attitude. They’ll zip up to stick beaks in the feeders then another will show up and the two of them will whizz off to duke it out somewhere, then another will show up and the whole episode repeats with a change of characters. Fun to watch.
Since we’re starting a new month, it’s time for the Old Farmer to chime in with weather predictions. He wasn’t too far off at the end of May. June appears to be starting off with showers and thunderstorms, cool, then sunny and dry, though cool; warming next week. The other Farmer’s almanac is not much different but does lean a little more heavily on thunderstorms. This other book also has a section of “The Return of the Ice Cold Winter!” It’s all about the relative effects of El Nino and his little sister, La Nina. The two featured maps describe our summer as likely to be “warm & soggy” and winter as “numbing cold and snowy”. Don’t say you have not been warned!
One other bit of wisdom gleaned from the Farmer’s Almanac : Keep no more cats than will catch mice. Where was that bit of advice when I needed it?
Pentecost is upon us, the “Birthday of the Church”, fiftieth day from Easter, sometimes referred to as “Whitsunday.” If you’re a churchgoer, you already know that, if you’re not, it’s clear as mud. We can also celebrate St. Boniface’s holy day, D-Day (1944) and the Full Strawberry moon coming up on the 9th. Try to keep your blood pressure down. Strawberry growers must be girding up their loins for the season. Strawberry shortcake-eaters must be licking their chops in anticipation.
That song wasn’t about how “June is bustin’ out all over,” for nothin’.
So, that’s about it for the June start-up. Graduation on the 4th starts off a whole cycle of graduation parties and celebrations, running on through July and then some. The Fourth of July Community Band for the Hiram observance is still seeking musicians at just about any level of expertise. I could really use some help in the percussion section; kind of lessens the effect when there’s nothing but a bass drum. Snare drummers and cymbal players needed! Actually, just about any instrument is needed and there are instruments available for one-time use. If you’d like to give the ol’ saxophone a workout one more time, sign up. June 12, 21 and 29 are the practice dates, in the Frohring Music Building, Hiram College, @ 7:30 p.m. It’s a fun time and an appreciative audience—I have never been hit by over-ripe fruit OR vegetables (not that I didn’t occasionally deserve it)—as well as a long-time tradition. Bring friends, bring family, play, listen, applaud, whatever, wear red-white-and blue. It’s the Fourth, for goodness sake! It’s community!
We can all do it, so do it.
The bird of the day is the American Bald Eagle.