Dad always says to me,
“Marco, keep your eyelids up
And see what you can see.”
But when I tell him where I've been
And what I think I've seen,
He looks at me and sternly says,
“Your eyesight's much too keen.”
As I waited for hummingbirds to visit the feeder, I often saw other birds around the yard and enjoyed their antics. Small, common birds are not high on the shot list. Some did get my attention, though. It also put me in mind of Dr. Seuss' poem — with it's theme of seeing things other people didn't see or inflating the facts surrounding things he did see. But, would I do that? Well, I feel like my story just won't be complete, 'til I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street.
The rest of the poem is at the end of the blog if you would like to read it.
A White-breasted Nuthatch caught my attention one morning as it was sunbathing in a nearby tree. They get very dopey acting when they do this. It is the first time I have ever seen one sunbathe in a tree. Usually they sunbathe on a flat surface.
Wrens are among my favorite birds. This beast was so big, you might think it was frog, but it was not: it was a bug.
He jumped around trying to subdue it for quite some time and finally flew off with it. It had stick-like legs and a red spot on it. Sometimes, I wonder where they get this stuff!
Many birds spend a lot of time looking under leaves as they work over a tree. This Tufted Titmouse found a big fat worm under a leaf. Look how she is hanging on to the leaf with her left foot.
A weed-free lawn is a worm-free lawn. The chemicals that kill the weeds also have adverse effects on the organic life below the lawn. We have several American Robins that spend their day pulling worms out of the lawn to feed their young. I am always amazed at the number of worms they pull out of the lawn. Look at how this Robin (which I am pretty sure is a male) has the worm sectioned and stacked in it's bill to carry back to the young.
Another favorite of mine is the diminutive Chipping Sparrow, easily recognized by it's chestnut crown. He has found a caterpillar to feed to his babies. It is funny how the smaller the bird, the less they seem to be afraid of humans. Most Chipping Sparrows will let you almost walk right up to them before they fly.
Birds are more curious than you might think. Over the month I had the hummingbird props set-up out in the yard, four different species of birds, other than hummingbirds, landed on the rig. That was just while I was around. I am embarrassed to say, until recently, I thought the chickadees around our house were all Black-capped Chickadees.
Their range overlaps in this area with the Carolina Chickadee. I actually think this IS a Black-capped Chickadee, but I am not real good at identifying similar species. There are three features that make me think it is a Black-capped Chickadee: the ragged margin on the lower edge of the black bib, the buffy thighs and the white margin around the tail feathers.
I was sitting quietly on the porch waiting for the hummingbirds. A few feet away, I had a ladder resting against the roof for a little chore I needed to do on the roof. I heard a metallic tapping on the ladder. When I looked over, I saw a Titmouse checking out the holes at the end of each rung for bugs. I thought she was the one making the tapping noise. Just a few seconds later, however, this male Downy Woodpecker flew over to the pole I was using to prop up the line to inspect everything. He had been at the bottom of the ladder pecking at something. Ironically, there is a woodpecker called a Ladder-back in the southwest U. S. Maybe he was just doing his best imitation.
"And now we return to our previously scheduled program..."
“Stop telling such outlandish tales.
Stop turning minnows into whales.”
Now, what can I say
when I get home today?
All the long way to school
And all the way back,
I've looked and I've looked
And I've kept careful track.
But all that I've noticed, Except my own feet
Was a horse and a wagon on Mulberry Street.
That's nothing to tell of,
That won't do, of course....
Just a broken-down wagon
That's drawn by a horse.
That can't be my story. That's only a start.
I'll say that a ZEBRA was pulling that cart!
And that is a story that no one can beat,
When I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street.
Yes, the zebra is fine,
But I think it's a shame,
Such a marvelous beast
With a cart that's so tame.
The story would really be better to hear
If the driver I saw there were a charioteer.
A gold and blue chariot's something to meet,
Rumbling like thunder down Mulberry Street.
No, it won't do at all... a zebra's too small.
A reindeer is better; he's fast and he's fleet,
And he'd look mighty smart
On old Mulberry Street.
Hold on a minute! There's something wrong!
A reindeer hates the way it feels
To pull a thing that runs on wheels.
He'd be much happier, instead,
If he could pull a fancy sled.
Hmmm.. A reindeer and a sleigh..
Say-anyone could think of that,
Jack or Fred of Joe or Nat--
Say, even Jane could think of that.
But it isn't too late to make one little change.
A sleigh and an ELEPHANT!
There's something strange!
Say! That makes a story that no one can beat,
When I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street.
But now I don't know... It still doesn't seem right.
An elephant pulling a think that's so light
Would whip it around in the air like a kite.
But he'd look simply grand
With a great big brass band!
A band that's so good should have someone to hear it,
But it's going so fast that it's hard to keep near it.
I'll put on a trailer! I know they won't mind
If a man sits and listens while hitched on behind.
But now is it fair? Is it fair what I've done?
I'll bet those wagons weigh more than a ton.
That's really too heavy a load for one beast;
I'll give him some helpers. He needs two, at least.
But now what worries me is this..
Mulberry Street runs into Bliss.
Unless there's something I can fix up,
There'll be an awful traffic mix-up!
It takes Police to do the trick,
To guide them through where traffic's thick –
It takes Police to do the trick.
They'll never crash now, They'll race at top speed.
With Sergeant Mulvaney, himself, in the lead.
The Mayor is there, And he thinks it is grand,
And he raises his hat as they dash by the stand.
The Mayor is there and the Aldermen too,
All waving big banners of red, white and blue.
And that is a story that NO ONE can beat
When I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street!
With a roar of its motor an airplane appears
And dumps out confetti while everyone cheers
And that makes a story that's really not bad!
But it still could be better. Suppose that I add...
A Chinaman who eats with sticks...
A big Magician doing tricks..
A ten-foot beard that needs a comb...
No time for more, I'm almost home.
I swung 'round the corner and dashed through the gate, I
ran up the steps and I felt simply GREAT!
For I had a story that NO ONE could beat!
And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street!
But Dad said quite calmly,
“just draw up your stool”
and tell me the sights on
the way home from school” There was so much to tell, I
JUST COULDN'T BEGIN! Dad looked at me sharply
and pulled at his chin.
He frowned at me sternly from there in his seat, “was
there nothing to look at..No people to greet?
Did nothing excite you or make your heart beat?”
“Nothing,” I said, growing read as a beet,
“But a plain horse and wagon on Mulberry Street.”