Yesterday late in the afternoon, I heard another of those sickening thumps on one of the greenhouse windows in our dining room. After days of rain, the sun had come out, making it harder for birds to distinguish windows from forest. I looked on the deck near the dog bowls and saw a gorgeous scarlet tanager lying belly up on the plant stand. Darn, I thought, why are they always so pretty, like last year’s bluebird?
Since it was time to feed the dogs, I picked up their bowls and carried them into the house. I’ll ask Keith to dispose of the dead body, I decided, once the dogs finish eating. Except when I returned with the dogs and their filled bowls, the bird was alive, crouched under the plant stand, possibly injured.
“Keith,” I called, “there’s a scarlet tanager out here you need to check.” He joined me immediately and, after I took this picture, picked up the stunned bird.
“His wings seem okay,” Keith said, using the bistro table like a doctor’s examination table. “You say he’s a scarlet tanager? I’ve never seen one before.” A male, of course, and in his first year since the bright coloring was more orange.
I took another picture, and the bird flew off.
Then the sky became cloudy, and we heard thunder. Heathcliff retreated to his spot under my desk, and Freya in our closet. I abandoned my plan to spray the daylilies with deer repellant—it would only wash off in the rain.
This morning, when I ventured forth to spray our lovely daylilies, I noticed the damage had already been done. (Chewed daylily at right) Darn, I thought, why do deer always eat the pretty flowers? Why don’t they eat invasive plants like stilt grass?
And speaking of stilt grass, Keith and I contracted with our landscape company to kill this invader like kudzu. The low, bamboo-looking grass chokes out native species by forming thick mats along roadsides and sunny areas in the forest. (Nasty stilt grass at left)
This afternoon, our landscaper sprayed, using pre and post emergent herbicide. Will we win or lose?
To be determined.
With nature as in life, I guess it’s win, lose, or TBD.