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The weather has been so lovely that I’ve been able to spend my work days out on the balcony, the little dogs at my feet, and a family of house finches squabbling over my shoulder.  They don’t mind me at all. The big orange feeder full of black oil sunflower seeds is far too wonderful to ignore just because there is a large possible predator mammal sitting a mere three feet away.


This is Gertrude.  As in Stein, of course.  She’s a house finch and she is very brave. I call her mate Atticus (I have to thank Kate for that one) and I know he’s Gertrude’s mate because they always fly in together. But they never eat at the same time, oh no.  Gertrude is very particular and insists that Atticus wait on a nearby lantern while she and her best girlfriend Anastasia eat their fill.  Atticus isn’t particularly fond of this arrangement.  He gets impatient and will frequently drop off of the lantern, wings spread, toes aimed at the lip of the feeder. When Gertrude realizes he’s left his post (the nerve!) she flaps her wings furiously and squawks at him, sending him back to the lantern in a flurry of feathers. This will happen two or three times, he drops, she squawks and flaps, till finally she’s sick of it and follows him to the lantern, wings beating, squawk! Squawk! Squawk! Now he knows he’s in trouble so he flies to the next lantern, a little further away. Gertrude circles him once, squawks a final warning, and goes back to finish her meal. When I move to pick up my coffee, the females startle and fly off in a spray of seeds. Atticus will dart from the lantern to the lip of the feeder, just long enough to grab a mouthful of seeds before he’s off after the girls.

They have such lovely and complicated lives. Like us.

Or else I am totally anthropomorphizing.