Peck, dip and fly

At the Houston Museum of Fine Arts cafe patio earlier today, a woman ate her salad while reading and sending email on her iPhone. I don’t think she stopped to look at the salad a single time. If she enjoyed it, she didn’t show it. When she finished, she put her phone and other stuff in her purse and got up and left, leaving the tray with the salad bowl behind.
The bowl sat there undisturbed for about five minutes, then a bird discovered it and swooped down, landing on the rim of the bowl. The bird, a blackbird or grackle, examined the contents for a few seconds then dipped her head into it and came up with a long thin strand of pasta. He held on to it for a while, almost as if he couldn’t figure out what to do with it. I wondered if he perhaps thought the pasta strand was an albino worm. Whatever he thought it was, he didnt appear to like the taste, for he quickly flew to the nearby fountain, a series of pools, each one a bit higher than the other, with the water cascading from top to bottom until reaches the lower pool. The bird stood at the edge of the pool and then dipped the pasta in the water. He did that two or three more times then, apparently satisfied, he flew off with the strand of pasta in his beak.
A few minutes later, he returned. Or a bird that looked very much like him returned, and he did the same thing: pick, hold, fly to pool, dip, dip, dip and fly away. I wondered if it was feeding his young somewhere nearby, or perhaps using the pasta to build a nest. Then other birds started showing up, one female and several more males, and they all repeated the pick, dip and fly ritual until there was no more pasta. Thinking about it now, it occurs to me that somewhere near the MFA, there’s either a bunch of young blackbirds with bad tummy aches, or several nests partially constructed with pasta. Clean pasta.

About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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1 Response to Peck, dip and fly

  1. Ann Chapman says:

    I watched a bird today check out all my potted plants. He finally found the one he was looking for, must have smelled it from a distance. It was my one lone strawberry plant, which had three big strawberries on it. Now it has two and a half. It’s okay. If I want some for myself I can buy them from the store.

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