nuthatch

Warm and windy. Nuthatch and woodpecker calls intermingle with the creaks and rattles of trees, most of which have now burst their buds.

Sunrise stains the treetops. The woods are full of anxious-sounding calls: chipmunks, jays, nuthatches, an endlessly scolding squirrel…

Christmas Bird Count! Crow, junco, white-throated sparrow. Three chickadees, two nuthatches and a cardinal. Nothing in the damn pear tree.

Colder, with a flat white sky and the ground lightly seasoned with snow. A lone nuthatch zigzags and spirals up the trunk of a tall locust.

A nuthatch and chickadee gadding about together, poking into everything. Nuthatch flies past my nose; chickadee balks and circles the house.

Five nuthatches land in the walnut tree and begin scuttling up and down its trunk in the pouring rain, poking and probing the furrowed bark.

Two nuthatches meet on a branch for a split-second copulation, then fly off to separate tree trunks to resume foraging, tails to the sky.

Four squirrels descend a tree in single file and disperse into the brush. The stream still runs high. A nuthatch rattles his anxiety cup.

The nasal alarm calls of nuthatches, one to the south and one to the north. The sun is a yellow stain on a white tablecloth. A silent raven.

Just as bright as yesterday, but warmer. The snow is difficult to look at. I bite into an apple and a nuthatch scolds me for the noise.

The trees seethe with the small birds of winter. Even the cherry stump beside the porch attracts a nuthatch’s thorough investigation.

A jay’s call isn’t harsh, a nuthatch’s isn’t querulous: so hard to hear the music of what happens. Every day some poet dies from the strain.