Marcia, Marcia, Marcia — Old trees

Living where we do, in the East Hill neighborhood of York, shade is abundant. Shade is abundant because there are so are trees; really big, older trees.

We love our trees, although this year the wind has taken its toll and given several of them a natural trim. We love that it is several degrees cooler on our patio because of them. We love the calming sound of the leaves rustling and at this time of the year we love the entertainment our trees provide.

You see, our old trees come alive in the spring. They leaf out, drop lots of little green fuzzy things and whatnot … and they become home to an amazing assortment of wildlife, mostly of the feathered variety.

Yep, we have old trees and young birds.

First thing, the Wood Ducks return. Mom and Pop Wood Duck roost in the giant locust tree above our patio picnic table. It’s easy to tell when they are around … if you have ever scared up a duck you know the flappy sound of their wings. The parents hang nearby waiting for the littles to peek out a hole in the tree and jump-plop down to the ground. It’s nice the woodpeckers have created such a great apartment complex for our wild friends. Wood Ducks are interesting; many times they lay eggs in the nests of other birds, relying on foster parents to raise up their young. It’s not until they jump-plop that the parents take responsibility for their kids. And talk about darling — those fluffy guys and gals are a beautiful lemony shade of yellow with black accents, especially around their eyes.

Right now we have taken a baby Blue Jay under our wing, so to speak. I would say our new little friend is perhaps one-third grown with a few feathers. The parents are feeding the youngster who hop-flies around the deck and patio in the relative safety our fence provides.

I love when baby Robins plump up and literally fill the nest. Their chubby Robin bodies remind me a bit of myself as they outgrow their surroundings.

Our Cardinal couple is busy as well, feeding on the ground and taking turns on their nest in bushes next door. The squirrels, Squeaky and Chippy, can be found raiding the bird feeder (it’s just a square baking pan nailed to our fence post). We don’t worry about squirrels, we like having them around, as they are raking through the seeds, scattering them for others to enjoy.

We’ve found young squirrels over the years to be a bit unruly. Seems moms and dads have a difficult time getting the kids to mind once they can climb. I’ve even seen a parent carry its youngster back to the family tree. And there was the time one fell out of the tree, bounced off the umbrella over the picnic table before landing in the nearby Boxwood Bush. Jay and I were sitting outside when that happened.

And bunnies … well those babies grow up so fast that before long the kids are off to college. Once in a while we have a raccoon peeking at us from the other side of our fence, or from the “V” of the Hackberry Tree.

We live in the center of town and it is like Teddy Roosevelt said, ““The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel.”

I love our little wilderness. I love our old trees — the living and the long-dead parts of them. The new branches and the scarred elder branches. Each serving its purpose — feeding and housing, shading and calming. The old and the young.


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