16: Death Sentence
THE SKY appeared to be awash with countless noisy black birds that flew over our neighborhood for a day or two after the interloper’s reign ended. I couldn’t tell if Elvira was one of them for they all looked alike, but I suspected she was the one in front, being chased.
In hindsight, I believe they must have been bachelor currawongs that had come a courting from near and far, but how they had got wind of the fact that there was a newly widowed female up for grabs I will never know. Mother Nature’s bush telegraph sure works in mysterious ways.
There were birds flying about everywhere, squawking out their raucous, grating calls to each other but eventually, whatever was happening, happened, the currawongs dispersed and everything settled back down to quietude. I guessed that one of the bachelors had won first prize.
After that, Elvira stopped calling in for food to feed her chicks, or even to feed herself and instead flitted about the treetops with her
The nest was too far up in the camphor laurel tree for me to do anything even if I could for I now get a bout of acrophobia at about the height of the seat of a kitchen chair, so forebodingly, I let nature take its course.
Inspecting the nest with binoculars and seeing no more signs of life, I came to the sorry conclusion that the fate of the chicks had been no different than for most other young animal species that loses the father.
For instance, if a lion pride loses the male for any reason, when the lioness takes on a new mate, it will immediately kill all the cubs produced by the last male so as to ensure that only his progeny continues on.
This must have been what had happened to Elvira’s chicks. The new boyfriend would never consider rearing some other males offspring, so its first task after consummation of their bond would have been to destroy the interlopers chicks.
I believe I had unwittingly witnessed this when Elvira last visited her nest. She was in company with her new mate, perched together on a nearby branch and I suspect, that was around the time the dirty deed was done.
How Elvira stood by and let this happen is another one of nature’s mysteries, but I guess she instinctually understands the natural laws better than I. Now, not only was the schizophrenic interloper dead and gone, so was his progeny and any risk of his craziness being passed on.
At the time I was very apprehensive that this new boyfriend in residence at the currawong lodge might be as crazy as the last one and mayhem would return to our once more peaceful neighborhood.
I had no need to worry though, this new buck was nearly as big and ugly as his predecessor but he turned out to be normal and most importantly peaceful, which proved to me that the interloper was definitely a one off, a few sheep short in the top paddock so to speak.
Life once again settled back down to normalcy, Elvira began to build a new nest and prepare for another go at motherhood and the Bruce family of peewees suddenly got a hankering for hamburgers.
A family of Noisy Miner Birds, who are very cute and daring (one is pictured on my lap at the right) began visiting the hamburger stand — and there also was an incident concerning hard boiled eggs…
Dan’s Quote: “Although Mother Nature may appear harsh and uncaring, the only reason
_____________life still exists on Earth is because her rules are followed.”