05 July 2009

Mousebird TV

A few weeks ago I woke up, looked out the window, and noticed that I could no longer see the top of our largest papaya tree. I went outside onto the terrace for a better look. The tree had fallen down overnight. Even closer inspection showed that the tree had probably been diseased, as the trunk had become soft and spongy.

We weren't that concerned about the papayas, even though it was a pretty cool-looking tree. We have other papaya trees. What we liked best about that specific tree was that it was a popular hangout for a band of speckled mousebirds. These short, fat little birds have a tufted head and a long tail. They are a chatty bunch, chirping and squawking all day long on their branches. The mousebirds like to hang upside down from a papaya, digging in to it to eat the seeds. Since we moved here we've spent a lot of time sitting on the terrace watching the mousebirds in that tree.

But now, with the favored tree gone, we expected to not see much of them anymore. Most of the papaya trees are far from our terrace, except one. We thought that one would be too close to the house for the mousebirds. Low and behold last Sunday afternoon, I looked up from the couch to see five mousebirds sitting in that closest papaya tree, chirping and bouncing and eating seeds. Mousebird viewing from the comfort of my own couch! Of course, I was trying to get some work done and the little buggers were pretty distracting. But I couldn't bring myself to shoo them away.

Because of the proximity to the house, the mousebirds only hang out in that tree on quiet afternoons, usually when I'm being quiet because I'm trying to get work done. 

(Image from E.J. Photo)

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