Snowbirds

By Pam Crawford

Having arrived in North Dakota mid-March, we immediately started looking for a warm place to live. Being creatures of habit, we migrated to the same neighborhood we settled on in the past few years. We scoped out the area while perched atop of a huge silver maple tree in front of what we considered a quiet house except for a very tall young man who would come and go occasionally.

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Deciding this was the spot, we proceeded to build our nest in the crook of a drainpipe on the edge of the backyard patio. It was covered with roof overhang-the perfect spot. I laid my eggs and sat on them day and night.

Life was good until there was quite the racket coming from the house. Lights came on, windows flew open, doors slammed, people were moving about, and then we heard a baby crying. The owners had returned early from Arizona, mumbling something about COVID and an adoption.

We were getting nervous, thinking our position would be compromised. To my pleasant surprise, they left us alone. Occasionally I caught glimpses of them watching us with binoculars at the patio door. They came into the back yard, which made me extremely apprehensive, but we seemed to be accepted, even though we were trespassing.

Sometimes I caught a glimpse of the tiny grandson when they carried him to the window to check on us. Maybe that is the reason they did not shoo us away because we had in common the responsibility of feeding and caring for babies.

Soon one of the eggs hatched and the people grew even more attentive. They tip-toed around us, watching me feed the baby. Then came the day when my baby bird could fly and off we went, never to return to the nest.

One day on our daily sweep through the yard I heard the woman ask the man what birds do all day, wondered why we never returned to the nest, and what it was like to not have a home base. She was concerned about our baby and if he had survived.

A few days later, as we flew by an open window, we heard the woman playing her guitar. We landed on the fence outside the window and listened, swaying with the music. She stopped and looked out at us. I flapped a wing and we left. I think she knew it was us and was relieved to know we were doing well.