The Circus Comes to Town!

Aeronautical acrobats and and high wire acts

Birds abound at the farm.  Barn swallows, bluebirds, a red wing blackbird, and 2 pairs of goldfinches flash amongst the more subdued colors of crows and grackles and mourning doves.  We’ve discovered another denizen recently, a hummingbird.

Thera was walking out by the tomato trellises when she noticed two birds sitting on the topmost trellis bar.  One was a fairly large songbird, the other a tiny fellow only a quarter the size.  She wondered what it could be until it rose into the air and began the hover, flit, hover, flit dance so definitively hummingbirdesque.  What a delight! Now we get to watch the hummingbird two-step in addition to the swallows’ waltz!

Occasionally our bird friends pass from the sublime into the comical.  And once again the trellises are involved.  The metal tubing that forms the frame of the trellis is a handy and sturdy perch.  The twine that the vines clamber up, is not.  The birds haven’t quite figured that out.

For whatever reason, the birds will try to perch on the netting, and will not give up, even when the harmonic motion sets in.  And so … A bird lands on the twine.  Whoops! The twine sinks away under his slight weight.  To the bird, it’s a simple matter of adjusting his balance by flapping his wings – it works with tree branches, it ought to work here – or so instinct says.  But the twine, unlike a tree branch, is not anchored to anything as unmovable as a tree trunk; it’s attached to another equally moveable bit of twine. And that’s when the high wire act begins. Gripping the twine, finding himself unsteady, he flaps his wings to balance himself, setting the twine in motion, which makes the little fellow flap all the harder, which makes the twine swing all the more wildly so that he flaps more wildly… back and forth, faster and faster, he swings and balances and will not let go!  Eventually, sometimes, he succeeds; the twine’s arc is the obverse of his wings’, and bliss! All is still. But, add a second and a third and a fourth bird, and the farce truly begins.  For as one little fellow gains his balance, another has not, and in trying to correct himself, sets everyone else into fluttering, clutching, swaying, and flapping.  No circus clown or tight rope walker was ever so amusing!

2 comments… add one
  • Kass July 16, 2011, 2:44 am

    The site is lovely. Maybe if we have any birders among the subscribers we can organize a bird watching morning.

  • omniahumanitas July 16, 2011, 2:28 pm

    Thank you!
    Bird-watching morning – what an excellent idea! We even know of someone who is an avid birder and who has spoken longingly of coming out to the farm to spend time with the birds. She would probably be very glad to share what she knows. We’ll keep you posted.


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