Millie looks up and barks. Or maybe she barked and then looked up. Either way, a Cooper’s Hawk tailing a screaming Blue Jay blurs over our heads. The wall of ivy across Perry Street instantaneously consumes them.
Dead quiet. Silence from the usual sparrow boogie-woogie in the ivy jungle. Breakfast in bed. Someone else’s bed.
After that somber reveille, the Cardinals are the first to take up the let’s-get-on-with-it call. Two randy scarlet fellows, brazened by the whiff of spring or perhaps excited by the election of a new pope, spar over a noncommittal damsel. While bandying their full repertoire of lusty plinks and cheery-cheery-cheerios, they flutter, they bow, they fan their tails. If she doesn’t make up her mind soon, these two guys are going to explode.
Turning the corner, the rollicky song of a party of House Finches spreads their brand of mid-century Californian rosiness down the block. Advertised as Hollywood Finches after their west coast provenance in 1940, House Finches were released on Long Island following failed attempts to sell them as cage birds. The East has done them well. Millie looks condescendingly over her shoulder at me, “This is news?”
The House Sparrows and Starlings are squabbling over the high-rise housing in the cornices. The Titmice with their perky crests are still buzzing around the budding trees. I wonder if now that they finally found the West Village this winter they’re going to spend the summer here as well.
A Robin flies over the street with a ribbon in his beak towing a cluster of shredded balloons. No sticks and grass for this fellow’s nest. To woo his girl he wants only state of the art materials in his fly-up penthouse. Ah, he sailed up into that tree – I’ll have to keep an eye on his progress.
Millie gallivants down the rest of the block toward the highway. The bricks of one building are particularly alluring. A French fry balanced on the curb beckons her scrutiny (and consumption). An adorable Westie across the street summons her for a play date.
We get the light at West Street. Millie gives one warning bark to the white-walled obstruction blocking the crosswalk. The guy texting at the steering wheel is oblivious.
Detoured safely to the other side, our first destination is the railing. The Mergansers and Buffleheads seem to have moved on. A Cormorant is already air-drying his wings on a piling. A familiar honk bellows from the lawn behind us – a Canada Goose couple. “Millie, they’re back!” Likely it’s the same pair that raised a trio of goslings last summer, and a handsome quartet three summers ago. They’re late. Last year they already had toddlers by April 1st. Maybe there was a delay at the airport.
I do hope that there are goslings to watch this summer. Mille looks at me as though she hopes so too.