Tea and bird watching are natural go-togethers. Some birds stay here year round, so the fun never ends. However, now that Spring is here, the “deserters” (who traveled southward when the weather turned cold) have returned and made our backyard quite a lively sight, birdwise.
First, a tea moment treat. One of my favorites is a hearty cup of black tea (either Chinese or Indian), with milk and sweetener, and a small slice of warmed cherry pie. Thus equipped, I settle in to observe the antics of the many local birds who think our backyard is their personal spa (probably because of the array of bird baths there). The tea is relaxing and the birds are stimulating, as long as they don’t get too frisky.
Unfortunately, they often get too frisky.
Our dining room has lots of windows, considering the room’s relatively small size. It has a bay window that faces the side yard and a couple of large windows that look over the deck and back yard. The bay window is the best for viewing the shrubbery area with the bird baths (five, so far) that we have set up. This is usually where I sit and enjoy the show.
Then came the big bird bath brouhaha.
It started with a couple of doves, each wanting all to itself the same particular bird bath, which was clearly large enough for the two of them to share, so they starting flapping at each other. Then, some robins showed up. First, they landed on the ground, picked through the loose leaves and plants for whatever bugs were available, but soon got a hankerin’ for a drink of water and a splash to get the dust off their feathers. They started challenging the doves for the bird bath they were using. (Bare in mind that we have four others, each full of fresh, clean water.) The doves soon gave way, and the robins (at least six or seven) started vying for their turn in the water. They flitted around, taking turns splashing about only to be chased out by another robin.
Then, the crows showed up, cawing and flapping their wings raucously. The robins held their ground at first but eventually gave way and took to the trees nearby. A grand crow party, with lots of splashing and drinking of water, ensued. (Bear in mind that none of the birds even seemed to notice the other four water-filled bird baths.) All of this flapping, cawing, squawking, chirping, splashing, and flitting continued while I sipped my tea and munched a bite of pie.
During this, the neighborhood squirrels scurried about, searching for nuts they had buried last year. I’m not sure how many they will be able to find. I do know that many of the nuts they buried had sprouted. My husband and I would find seedlings all over the yard, especially in the planting beds (the loose soil makes an easy place for the squirrels to bury things) and the ground cover on the front part of the yard that slopes to the sidewalk. Trust me, pulling those seedlings out is the reason for many a backache we have both endured.
The last drop of Assam tea in my cup is gone. The dessert plate has been licked clean of any trace of cherry pie. The birds have all flown, having had their fill of rollicking in the water. Now, only the squirrels remain. One comes up to the bay window, where I still stand watching. Does he see me? He turns his head to look, first with one eye, then with the other, then darts off across the yard, jumps up a tree trunk and, quicker than Santa whooshes up a chimney, he is safe at the top of the tree in his nest.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll brew up a nice pot of Gunpowder tea in my little cast-iron Japanese teapot and enjoy it with an éclair oozing with a coat of dark chocolate icing. Maybe there will be another bird bath brouhaha to entertain me.
Ah, the thrill of anticipation!
Don’t forget to check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!