Whatcha doin?

Great-crested Flycatcher

I sat back on my haunches, twisting my shoulders this way and that, trying to ease the strain of pulling weeds for hours on end.  I had neglected the weeding last year; with the result of not only lots of weeds but lovely Butterfly Weed seedlings; a few tiny Russian sage plants; Monarda that had wandered from the other end of the flower bed and a weensie 2-leafed sprout of a red Lace-leaf Maple.   I leaned back on my hands listening to the birds around me; sweat tickling my ear.

I looked up as a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks kir-ed overhead; floating in lazy spirals.  The backyard House Wren belted out his song; making sure it was very clear where his territory lay.  Not to be out-done, a Great-crested Flycatcher called from an oak at the top of the property.  I searched high in the trees for the Flycatcher, but didn’t see him.  From the thicketed forest, a Pewee moaned his lament and a Phoebe croaked from the wire.  The Great-crested called again.  I staggered to my feet, cursing my tingling leg and stumbled up the hill to the pile of mulch.  As I shoveled the fragrant wood into my plastic tub, the Great-crested Flycatcher sang close by.  I called back to him, WeeEEEP!  Leaning the snow shovel against the mulch pile, I grasped the handles of the tub and jerked it up only to come face-to-face with the yellow-bellied bird.  He eyed me, then the mulch, me again.  I inched past him.  As soon as I cleared the trees, he hopped down to gobble up the beetles scurrying back under cover in the mulch.

He and I hung out side-by-side for the rest of the afternoon.  I shoveled mulch, he ate the beetles while I tossed, patted, and smoothed my load.  He patiently waited for me to come back uphill for another tub-full, to fling back the plastic tarp and reveal the smorgasbord.

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5 Comments

Filed under backyard

5 responses to “Whatcha doin?

  1. Hee hee..nice that you were so accommodating to the flycatcher! what a cool little profile poking thru the leaves..

  2. That’s really cool.

  3. A truly symbiotic relationship. Isn’t it great to interact with another species like that, to mutual benefit?

  4. Amy

    Clever flycatcher! That’s a great story.

  5. whacha doooin???

    very cute, indeed.

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