Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Though This Be Madness

The fowl drama playing out in my backyard is better than anything I've seen on Animal Planet. Who needs Meerkats when I have a field lark playing out a a great tragedy on my playground?

The first two acts were comic, tragic, and suspenseful. Mama Lark built her nest on the ground by the slide, a strategy both clever and risky as the pea gravel camouflages her but also makes her an easy target for home invasion.

When we first spotted her nest, she had three cozy little eggs and was awaiting the arrival of the fourth. Not accepting our glad tidings, she threatened us for prying and then engaged in a curious cat and mouse game of "oh my, I'm a helpless injured bird, come get me" to draw us away from her nest. Naturally, my grown sons got their jollies provoking her and watching her enlist the aid of what we think must be the Daddy Lark as they alternated playing hurt and charging us by mimicking that weird flapping dinosaur in Jurassic Park that spit Newman to death.

Yeah, a one pound bird can be downright terrifying.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Shortly after we discovered the nest, Mama Lark gave birth to her fourth egg. Again, she wasn't accepting visitors but that didn't stop every niece, nephew and Chihuahua from dropping by her house to offer congratulations . Rude little bird. She just screamed and tried to peck them to death. Still, it was touching to see her sitting faithfully on that nest day after day.

Then, it happened.

Some time during the night, Mrs. Lark's babies became easy prey for a cat, owl, raccoon, or rat. I don't know. Probably the same villain killing my tomato plants. Whatever it was, when we checked in on Mama Lark one morning, she was one egg short. A few days later, she was another egg short. Then a couple of nights ago, I heard a commotion. Mama Lark, Daddy Lark, and several other birds were making such a racket that I thought surely, something was killing poor Mama. I rushed to her rescue in the pitch dark, but apparently, it took me too long to cross the pea gravel in my bare feet.

Mama was down to just one egg and I was standing in the backyard in my bra and pajama bottoms waving a flashlight.
When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions.
Now, we await the outcome of nature's little drama as we keep a wary eye out for a stealth serial killer and wonder what Act Three will bring while pondering that great Shakespearean question, "to be or not to be". Of course, if the egg does become a little hatchling, a whole new survival story begins.

2 comments:

The Moviequill said...

get your camera going to record some raw footage then write up a reality show premise and send it out wide -- heck, they're buying everything these days

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Just for you, I might post my camera phone footage of her charging my feet - except you don't see the feet. There's a reason I'm a writer and not a producer.