Seth over at The Altered Page is hosting a virtual collaboration called "Dig Deeper" in which bloggers look through past posts to find verbal and visual buried treasures. I decided to go back almost exactly three years and found a post that is just as relevant to me this morning as it was back then. Apparently, my rooftop is still Starling Central...
May 23, 2006 'Tis a Raven, Nothing More...
(with deepest apologies to Edgar Allen...)
I have a strange floor plan in my apartment where the living room & kitchen are upstairs and the bedrooms downstairs. My bedroom has been converted into a small classroom so I sleep upstairs on the couch, right alongside the studio space I have created for stretching my artistic wings. Wings of another sort have been visiting me though and it is a surreal experience born of Hitchcock and Poe.
European starlings are ubiquitious black & iridescent birds with sharp, yellow beaks and a wide variety of warbles, clicks, and whistles in their vocal repertoire. They are a non-native species and as such are held in low regard by local birders. However, I find them entertaining to listen to and almost comical to watch, especially as they come and go in large flocks.
Apparently, the local starlings' union has decided that the rooftop of my apartment is a fantastic morning meet-up point and so they gather there in large numbers to plot their adventures for the day. My upstairs has huge loft ceilings with very little between the redwood planking inside and the shingles outside. Consequently, I wake, just as dawn is breaking, to the rather loud pitter patter of many feet, as the starlings mill around and chatter about whatever starlings have to chat about.
However, as of late, a larger, more annoying visitor has become enamored with the apartment roof for a very different reason. A large raven has decided that the roof contains some very special, edible treat (termites??). This raven must have some sort of woodpecker envy going on because he attacks the roof with gusto, using his large, black beak to drill into the rooftop. The rap, tap, tapping of his efforts are plainly heard inside and it makes for an abrupt wake-up call. I have to admire his enthusiasm but as there seems to be no shortage of treats hidden in the roof, he has become something of a regular. Poe would be proud.
Note: The accompanying journal page reads "Embodied in air: Each time we speak, we give birth and take wing..." It was not created for this blog entry but seemed oddly appropriate.