Giving thanks for the birds

Rain fell yesterday, ending a dry, hot spell that left the whole garden drooping its head.

I stood in the yard. The air was cool and the sky clear as glass. Two clouds hung like lost feathers over the roof, slowly turning pink.

I realized that our birds were out, celebrating the cool evening, like children let out on the street to play before it gets dark and they have to go to bed. The hurrying traffic of humans going home did not disturb them in the least. They were going to enjoy the evening.

Three Loggerhead Kingbirds (young ones, I think) perched on the top of the mango tree and took it in turns to launch themselves out, sallying forth to catch insects, chattering as they went. And back to their perch.

A White-crowned Pigeon peers down at me enquiringly from our poui tree. (My photo)

A White-crowned Pigeon (Baldpate) flew across to perch on a dry tree branch over the road. I could hear his purring, crooning call. His dark bulk, a rounded body, a small, elegantly carved head against the evening sky.

Two young Red-billed Streamertails (Doctor Birds) sparred briefly in the lower branches of the guango tree, wings bristling.

Our White-chinned Thrush – a bird with character, and quite a range of vocalisations. (My photo)

And the White-chinned Thrush (Hopping Dick) gave his rain call. I don’t know for sure, but have noticed this seems to be his call when rain is in the air, or even during the rain, sharp and commanding. Rain!

I looked up to see an Antillean Nighthawk, its wings fixed like an airplane, slanting across the sky. His rattling cry “gimme me bit” echoed. There were plenty of insects to catch as he scythed through the air. He was accompanied by two swifts, a little further away – and more graceful.

The Jamaican Oriole in our bird bath the other day was surprised to see a European Starling turn up (on the right). They tolerated each other for a few minutes – sort of. (My photo)

A Jamaican Oriole (Auntie Katie) gave me a fragment of his song and a glimpse of his golden feathers.

And there were the Greater Antillean Grackles – Cling Clings (I counted eight of them) making their way purposefully across the sky in a busy little group, talking to each other as they flew home to their roost. “Well, how was your day, dear?” “Not bad at all, can’t complain…”

I gave thanks for the birds, and for the cool evening, and for life.

Evening time. (My photo)


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