The Visitor

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 8:45am

So, guess who will not be coming to dinner?

For several years, about this time, we have moved to our horse barn/bunk house for the winter. Easier to heat, fewer pipes to freeze, smaller space to manage. It has worked out pretty well over the years. And, it seems that the local wildlife community expects us to start banging around their “hood,” for better or worse, as we attempt to prepare for the long winter.

Not everyone of our animal friends appreciates our seasonal move. This year, in fact, we will not move to the barn, as members of our family have returned to the nest for a safer space and their own wildlife management program. We seem to have become the universal center for porcupine resettlement, much to our displeasure. They just seem to keep waddling out of the woods, taking up residence nearby. And our trees have been the worse for wear.

However, we are also the Grand Central Station for the local turkey population. They gather together and march through the yard, clucking and churping, scratching at the grass and fallen birdseed. Every year a new batch arrives. The little ones spin in circles as they try to figure out which end's up. They can be quite hysterical.

But, this time of year, the big birds are in charge. The males get all puffed up and flared out as they strut around the flock hoping to make arrangements with one or more of the somewhat aloof females who seem to be more annoyed with these flirtations than inspired. The back yard takes on the appearance of a “Shriners Macy's Day Parade” as all these critters interact.

Last year, or maybe two years ago now (who's counting?), one of the flock started hanging around close to the barn, sort of away from the bigger group and just a little more inquisitive than normal. We pretty much ignored this singular bird figuring it was fed up with the setup and tired of hanging with the rest of the flock.

One day, as I was revving up the woodstove, I heard this tapping on the window next to the kitchen. It seemed odd to hear this particular sound coming from outside so I paid no attention, but the tapping continued and grew louder. Once the fire had caught, the tapping sound seemed to diminish. In my world, unidentified sounds in my head are common. Too many games without a helmet. Imagine my surprise to find our friend (pictured above) staring in the window with the most disgruntled expression.

I think I realized, after a little study, what was going on. The bird had seen its reflection in the window and was prepared to do battle with the imposter who had invaded the neighborhood.

Eventually our friend departed having defeated its reflection.