cowbird

Overcast and damp. A tom turkey’s lusty declarations echo off the hillside, punctuated by the crisp, interrogatory whistles of a cowbird.

The sun shines through gauzy clouds, giving the morning a faded-photo effect. A squirrel drinks from the stream. A cowbird’s liquid note.

A second male phoebe has returned. Their warring warbles echo off the hillside at sunrise, interspersed with a cowbird’s liquid notes.

A brown-headed cowbird perches, as always, at the top of the tallest tree in the yard to maximize the reach of his one-second gurgle.

Drum of rain on the roof and the birds sound distant—robin, field sparrow, cowbird—the world greener than it’s been in seven months.

The black-robed cowbird at the top of the dead elm burbles authoritatively, like the Grand Ayatollah of the yard taking credit for the rain.

Twelve cowbirds in the sunlit crown of a walnut tree take turns with their single, liquid syllable, the blue sky gurgling in every ditch.