Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
January 2021
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Changing of the birds

Yesterday morning a distant and then closer examination of the nest revealed that the blackbirds have flown the nest. I was a bit worried about this at first, because on Monday I went against my decision to stay back for the last stages and had approached the nest closely again … and one of the fledglings decided to exit with an ungainly flap of wings.


I kept my eyes open and could see mum and dad blackbird loitering around the yard, still searching for food, and there were other blackbirds around as well, although with the youngsters nearly fully feathered and approaching full-size it was hard to tell if the birds I glimpsed were any of the threesome. They still have a slight dappled juvenile colouring, but that detail is hard to spot at a distance. This one, though, I am pretty sure about: its tail feathers aren’t yet full-length, its position on the middle rail of the fence is unusual, and when it flew the first time I saw it there was a certain lack of fluency to its efforts. So, it would seem that they’ve made a significant move to independent adulthood.


And in other ornithological news, Norman and Edna—the two tawny frogmouths who hang around my work building—have returned from their spring disappearance. When I first learned of their existence nearly three years ago they lived in the birch tree, but at one stage they disappeared for longer than usual, and it took us a while to realise that they’d changed addresses to the she-oak tree nearby, which is where they’ve returned in the last week or so.


I don’t know if it is just because I have been paying more attention this summer, but there seems to have been a bird population explosion. I have seen plover/lapwing chicks, native hen chicks, lots of goldfinches, and many many other species. Is this a good sign? Do they know something we don’t?!

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