Lorraine St. Pierre


A Backyard Symphony

Early one August morning, I sat on the wraparound porch of our B& B in Edgartown, sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee. The liquid was dark and strong, with a tantalizing, fresh bean smell that made the first sip so satisfying. It was only six a.m., so the day was just beginning.

It was raining hard, with not a hint of a breeze. The air was hot and heavy, feeling tropical and clammy as it settled on my skin. Raindrops fell gently like a symphony at play. Dripping from the porch overhang, long lengths of rain fell toward the ground, reminding me of strings on a harp, waiting to be played. My neighbors’ driveway was in view, where pools of water gathered. Rain hitting the pavement sounded like muffled drums beating in rhythm, as drops danced gaily on a stage designed especially for them. The view was mesmerizing.

As usual, birds were in abundance in the cedar and willow trees, and their loud, continuous chirping added to the musical repertoire. I sat on the lounge, stretching out my legs, and was totally relaxed. A sense of peace settled over me, and I thought how lucky I am to start my day this way.

Now there is a reason why so many birds were attending this symphony. They were taking turns at the feeder that hangs from the cedar tree. It is a large one that a dozen birds can visit at once. My husband, Ray, who built it from some recycled this-and-that, has to fill it twice a week, for these birds are real gluttons. They gather in the tall bushes, squawking and waiting, and they give us quite a show day after day. The cedar tree has a long, narrow branch that extends to the feeder, and the birds line up here and on the corral fence behind it, taking turns feeding their young. The little ones are so cute as they constantly and frantically flutter their wings while waiting to be fed.

The birdbath a short distance from the feeder is another draw. It is uncanny how birds stay away when the water is dirty, but when the water is refreshed each day, they appear like magic. We are convinced they have a lookout that sounds the message, and then they come in droves. Some birds get so waterlogged after their sojourn in the pool, they can hardly fly. Many stand on the fence and cedar branch, flapping their wings to dry off, only to hop in once again. It is so funny to watch them.

One day the sprinkler was on, watering the blue hydrangeas that are near the birdbath, and two birds kept running along the fence, catching the spray as it reached them. I found myself laughing and giggling out loud, as I watched their antics.

Ray and I are blessed with wonderful insight into the world of our feathered friends, where they give us live theater – and music – right in our own yard. And it’s a pleasure for us to share the show with family, friends, and guests.