Commentary: Some Birds Eat Seeds

Remington Write

But some birds eat birds
Red-tailed hawk comes to visit and the mourning doves lose their little minds /Photo byTammy Remington

Humans are ok, I guess. I mean I do live in close proximity to over 8,000,000 of them so I must have some affinity.

Apparently, however, I also need to have animals nearby. I said goodbye to my 16-year-old street rescue tabby cat a year ago January and am taking a hiatus from being another cat’s human for the time being. At least until the next cunning stray wiggles into our apartment.

That doesn’t mean my life is bereft of non-humans.
Mourning doves are a constant with the occasional finch visitingPhoto byTammy Remington

Say hello to my little friend. This cheery house finch has joined the gang on the fire escape recently.

Last winter, I began putting birdseed out on the fire escape and in very short order this became *the* hangout for mourning doves, a scattering of remarkably loud sparrows, and the occasional shrieking hit-and-run bluejay. And this year the guests of honor are adorable tufted titmice.
Tufted titmice take over every afternoonPhoto byTammy Remington

Getting a clear photo of those bluejays is remarkably tricky. They move like lightning at the first twitch of a curtain.
A rare quick shot of a bluejayPhoto byTammy Remington

Once the weather warms, however, I’ll stop putting out seed and my partner will turn our tiny fire escape back into his summer garden.
Our gardenPhoto byTammy Remington

I won’t be birdless, however. After all, we do live two blocks from one of the world’s great backyards: Central Park. And with the cold weather, I'll begin putting out seeds for the gang.

While my mild-mannered mourning doves and frantically perky sparrows are decimating the seed bell on my fire escape, it’s easy to forget that they’re also dodging the talons and flesh-ripping beaks of the birds who eat birds.

But there are also loads of bird webcams all over the world.

For example, there’s a pair of peregrine falcons who occupy some pricey real estate down in the financial district. They should be setting up housekeeping any day now.

I’ve seen the falcon’s mate feeding her regurgitated dead things but their nest would make Marie Kondo’s heart go pitter-pat. Not so with the barred owls I also peek in on each day. The owl’s mate brings a variety of small dead mammals and birds to drop into the nest for her to snack on. She’s a big girl and fills most of the small nest but you can still see little dead mice and bunches of feathers from partially eaten birds around the edges.

I know. Nature. Circle of life. Yeah, whatever.
Canada Geese by the Harlem MeerPhoto byTammy Remington

I think I’ll stick to Canada geese napping on the path around the Meer and my raucous little customers on the fire escape.

But, yeah, I have to admit it. I did keep going back to check on the progress of those little owls and falcons (two of the three owls have hatched but they looked too much like the baby in Eraserhead to win my heart).

Remember that everywhere in this hemisphere right now there are millions of birds patiently sitting on eggs. Millions of other birds are flying around gathering up things for those nest-sitters to eat. And some of those eggs will hatch into eaters of seeds and bugs while others will hatch the birds who will eat those birds.

Intelligent design?

Depends on who you ask, I suppose.

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Covert dilettante with an omnivorous capacity for wonder. Writing because I can't not write. Always watching for the hidden patterns and connections. I don't know I cannot fly..........and so I do.

New York City, NY

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