The Red-Whiskered Bulbul

1 Dec


From Savage Spear of the Unicorn

I went to pray this morning, looking out the front window. In the front yard the grass has gone to seed. A little wren came. And then finches with red faces, I don’t know what they are. Landing on the foxtail grass making it sway under their little weight. Throwing their heads back to swallow the seeds. They inspect the weeping ficus I have outside in a pot. Investigate the undersides of the leaves. Maybe looking for aphids. A female hummingbird, a rufous or Allen’s hummingbird, perching on the ficus branch, fluffing her neck, stretching out her long exotic tongue. You can hear the mourning doves out back. The mockingbirds. Ravens with their tock-tock sound like that hollow ribbed wooden thing you rubbed with a stick in music class in third grade. Not so bad. Power lines come down from my house, down the hill to the street, and the other day the rare red-whiskered bulbul landed there and looked at me. He was with his four children. I was afraid he’d die alone. But he caught a break.

4 Responses to “The Red-Whiskered Bulbul”

  1. Caleb December 3, 2020 at 11:47 am #

    Sad that everyone cares more about tetas grandes than the reproductive success of the red-whiskered bulbul.

  2. Anonymous December 4, 2020 at 4:02 am #

    If you watch any animals for long enough you’ll become emotionally involved in their struggles. Start having opinions about them.
    I had a balcony and the only birds to watch were sparrows. At a glance they all look alike but after a while you see there are big ones and little ones, male and female, bullies and furtive ones.
    I watched a large male assert his space, pecking and chasing anyone getting too close to his mate or acting insufficiently subordinate. I saw the fear of the little ones, imagined their unenviable lives dodging the Chads to grab a few crumbs, no chance of viable offspring and the first to die off in a drought.
    Then I realized the alpha was not so different. His position meant he must constantly fight, not letting his attention drop for a moment. One day he’ll get old or injured and be just as dead as the rest. Only for now does he inspire terror.
    I blinked and remembered I was looking at a tiny sparrow and they blended back into a pleasant tweeting backdrop like the swaying trees and chirping insects that we think of as nature’s serenity.

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