When my second son was born, my husband and his grandpa nicknamed him, catbird. That boy was quick and into everything—gone before you knew it. His fearless mischief was secretive until he was full-blown into it up to his elbows. Those little legs were flighty and quick. If the upper half of his body wasn’t glued on, it would have never kept up.
Not long after, I began to notice a pair of Catbirds living on our property. Every year they or their offspring return. Like my chickens, strangely, that brings me a lot of joy. As sure as my son being born more wild than boring, as sure as Spring comes every year, those little birds will do something that makes me respect them more and more. My best memory, though, is the black snake.
Last summer I was out in the chicken coop checkin’ for eggs, throwin’ in fresh hay and whatever else. I heard a ruckus comin’ from across the yard. When I looked over, I saw my two catbirds bouncing up and down like a seesaw in motion. They were moving across the yard with such a fury, one up and one down, squawking up a storm. I hurried over about the time they hit my garden only to see a huge black snake come flying out. Those two little warriors were chasing it out of the woods — no doubt, away from their nest— and instead of letting bygones be bygones once it fled into the yard, those little catbirds pursued ever so determined, riding its tail like a woman scorned. They were so fierce that when I ran over not even my presence sent them flyin’ away. The snake raced underneath the porch slitherin’ up on the garden tiller and there I stood with those catbirds, who, to my surprise, landed right by my feet just darin’ that shiny, black creature to move. Then, the one little catbird glanced up at me as if to ask, “You got this?” And then flew away, but, I promise you, it wasn’t out of fear. It was a bucky, bold exit – again, as if to say without words, “Don’t let me catch ya back here again or else.”
I will never forget that day and how scrappy and fearless those two birds were. I smile when they come back every year — each year, they seem even more fearless, especially of me. If I’m sittin’ by my glass doors, no doubt typing as I am now, they fly up to the porch peering into the glass. I can move, I can wave, but they just sit there until they’re ready to go. I have to laugh, even now, because how could I possibly spook them? I mean, they did take on something the size of an anaconda when compared to them, without so much as a second thought or shiver…..
Here is a great link to learn more about catbirds if they tickle your interest. Gray Catbirds