Come Come My Dears

curtains, spring breezeFrom my window I observe the woman watching the birdfeeder, and I wonder if she is as strange as she seems.

Come come, my dears, come come,” she croons, like a female Frank Sinatra. The birdfeeder is less than half-full or more than half empty, depending on your perspective, and has been for a week now, much to my dismay.

Oreo, the next-door neighbors’ black and white cat, caught one of the lustrous red cardinals in her mouth, mid-air, a week ago Monday, and the feeder has not been visited since.

Come come, my dears, come come.” The woman sings again in her soft, high lilting voice. She should make a CD out of it, I think a bit caustically. It would be wonderful during the meditative phase of my yoga class.

Come come, my dears, come come.” I hear a flutter of gossamer wings, but nothing appears.

This woman has materialized out of nowhere, just ten minutes ago, claiming she’s my neighbor’s cleaning woman’s sister, and she heard about the death caused by Oreo.

“I sing to birds,” she explains in her Brazilian accent. “I bring back.”

Come come, my dears, come come.” Her long black hair cascades over her tiny shoulders, and her creased pretty face is either 30 years old, or 60.

hairy woodpecker, woodpecker, suetCome come, my dears, come come.” goldfinch, birdbeeder, Spring

A yellow finch appears, then three. The hairy woodpecker that sits in the pine tree suddenly re-emerges at his suet perch.

Come come, my dears, come come.”

And then, they all appear. The rest of the cardinal family. The uncommon Common Redpoll, with the mother in her browner coat and soft red neck, her babies now almost teenagers. The nuthatch family appears too, and the doves, who coo softly each time they hear:

cardinals, bird feederCome come, my dears, come come.”

I’m charmed, until I note two enormous dark shapes emerging from the backyard woods…

Come come, my dears, come come.”




55 thoughts on “Come Come My Dears

    • Yes, I think she’s a bird whisperer. Me? I love hearing the songbirds celebrating spring (finally!) outside my window. the bird variety in NE seems totally different than the bay area, although I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of our hummingbirds (the ones we fed with sweet water on our deck in Marin).

      • The birds are so different back there. One of the fun things about reacquainting yourself with the seasons in NE. Those small-winged marvels will soon be stopping by for the nectar.

    • Some call it ‘fictionalized truth.’ Me? Well, a friend who lives in a neighborhood nearby learned that her town recently banned bird feeders because it attracts the….bears!

      • My CT couins had to stop feeding the birds because of the bears it attracted and our WV frineds have the same problem…..

    • Well, you are a short short story phenomenon, so I liked putting this one out there. With my story, though, I’d say 50% is truth. Well, the window and the birds are real, that’s for sure. And Oreo is too. I figure the dark shapes are whatever fears are lurking in our mind, yes?

  1. I really loved this, gently magical, felt like I was there watching with mouth open as bird after bird returned.. Was this real, or fiction? I’m potentially sad about the ending… although I’m an eternal optimist, and those black shapes might not be what I’m worried they might be. Hugs, H xxx

    • I wanted to write a piece with ‘repetition,’ a great literary device, as you know. The crooner appeared. (Truth? Imagination? Aren’t they the same?) And the black shapes are whatever you conjure, dear poet blogger-friend.

  2. You got me worried about those dark shapes! We had to move our feeder to a secluded corner surrounded by bushes in order to discourage our two cats from catching birds. Only one is still with us, and he’s gotten too lazy to hunt!
    We have a regular feeder which gets all sorts of birds, a thistle feeder that does attract piggy Gold FInches, and a suet holder that gets our woodpeckers. I love watching them!

    • We moved our bird feeder higher to discourage cats and squirrels. (We also asked our neighbors to put a bell on Oreo, but they refused…). The birdfeeder is close to our window and the birds allow me to stand and stare at their little squawky arguments over who gets the best perch and the most seeds. Quite a community they have!

  3. The bird feeders are hanging too low and too near a place from which a cat can jump up and catch a a bird. There are ways to hang a feeder that a cat can not reach.

    My cats are not allowed outdoors because I feed the birds and I don’t want any of my cats meeting an early demise. There are too many dangers for a roaming cat. Hawks, owls, dogs, mean neighbors, coyotes, bears, foxes, and, cars, etc.

    The neighbor should not feed birds if she is letting her cats go outside. If a person owns a cat or dog they need to assume responsibility for their pet as well as other animals such as birds.

    • I so agree! We asked our neighbors to put a bell on Oreo, but they won’t. (But they think cats are supposed to catch birds…) Yes, we placed our birdfeeder high high so the cat can’t jump up, but many of the birds (particularly the bigger ones) like to eat the seed that’s on the ground below the feeder. I do like watching the squirrels and birds share that ground seed sweetly together.

      • It’s possible to get a feeder that has a seed catcher under the hanging feeder. If poasilbe find an open area where you can scatter seeds for the birds that are ground feeders.

        I know you do not want to make an enemy of the neighbor but I would get very firm with the —- neighbor and tell them that they must put a break away collar on the cat or else you will start running the cat from your yard. They sound like insensitive clods.

    • Dark shapes are all around us, I’m afraid. We must let the bird song (and crooners, visible and invisible) keep us safe. On a less theatrical level, I notice how birds do warn each other of danger (whether a predator is nearby or a storm is approaching). We humans can learn much from them, if we just listen.

  4. This is brilliant writing. You call us in with the old woman’s call to her precious birds. And just when we think all is well, we are shaken by the “dark shapes.” Any dark shapes that lurk in the periphery are harbingers of bad things to come–they spoil the goodness in life in some minor or profound way. Such an evocative piece of writing!

  5. Haha, is this about me feeding my blue jays? Hope to catch up soon….things are still going well this week, not perfect, but well. I’ll touch base this weekend a bit more. Love to you!

  6. Come, come, my dears, come… I like it! I never thought of crooning to my dachshunds… okay, that’s a lie. I’ve been caught in the act by my husband and neighborhood children!

  7. So enjoyed the lyricism in the piece and then oh no– at first i thought… ghosts_-oh, cats! What a fascinating female character, too. I wanted to know even more about her.

    • Yes, wouldn’t we love to learn the story of the crooner? I’m sure she has a deep secret past. As far as the ‘dark shapes emerging’…? They are whatever is fearful, deep inside of us. At least, that’s my guess.

  8. I love to watch the birds outside my home office. Unfortunately, the neighbors cats come and hide in the bushes waiting for a bird to land. Last week we found feathers strewn on the ground!! Damn cats got a bird. Soon the garden hose will be used to scare them away.. That’s the only way to get rid of them!!!

  9. Lovely story about the bird whisperer! We have a bird feeder in the city, but not in cottage country. There be bears in cottage country! One broke open a neighbour’s shed to get at the bag of bird seed stored there.

  10. I just had a conversation with our crows and it wasn’t a pleasant one. They are chasing all our song birds away. I love your story and all the replies, you are all great writers.
    Hugs from Santa Cruz

    • The refrain of the crooner brought back the birds, and the shadows. In your imagination, what do you think those shadows are? My shadows (black shapes) may be different than yours…! (Sorry for being obtuse, but I can’t help it – too much fun.) 🙂

      • My shadows are fantastical beasts that are made of shadows – and they slink over when called to feed on the birds.
        I like the idea of the refrain bringing the birds and the shadows!

  11. We have black bears in our yard all the time. I grew up with bird feeders around our backyard, but we can’t have them here, and we can’t put out the garbage at night either.

    I loved your story, and I believe the woman IS the bird whisperer. Bless her.

    • She seems to have disappeared, the bird whisperer. But we now have our hummingbird feeder up, and they need no crooning to suck up the sugar water. (Hmmm, I wonder if bears like sugar water too?).

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