I paused at the back door on my way to put the roast into the oven when I noticed a flock of robins hopping about in the yard. Eight of them in their cheery red waistcoats pecking at bugs and pulling up worms—another of those things I’d previously known only from books and in the past few weeks I’ve actually watched them pull up the long worms and swallow them down. As I watched, one female tackled a long juicy earthworm. She played with it, pecking at it and then hopping a few inches away.
I soon saw the reason for her coyness. A flock of starlings swooped down and the robin hopped further away as a male starling scooped up her worm. He pecked off a sizable bite and then flew off again. She waited at a safe distance for a minute or so and then went back to the worm and, after a few preliminary pecks, gulped the worm down whole.
I also spotted a woodpecker hopping around attacking various branches of the trees, a few dull brown sparrows, a little hoppy junco who came right up to the back step, and a bright red cardinal flashing among the bare branches. There was also a little black and white bird with very bold markings, about the size of the junco, who stayed far off on Bella’s playset. I don’t know what he was. Have to look it up.
Then Sophie woke up from her nap and had to be changed. By the time I returned to the kitchen for my roast there was not a bird in sight in the back yard. I guess I’d caught it at rush hour.