When Cancer Becomes the Norm
TGB Takes a Vacation

A TGB READER STORY: All the Lawn’s a Stage

By Diane Darrow who blogs at Another Year in Recipes

We think of birds as creatures of the air but they also spend time on the ground, and it’s interesting to see the different ways they behave there. A bench in my neighborhood’s public garden makes an entertaining theater for observing how birds move about.

House sparrows usually get around by hopping. With their short legs, a single step can cover only a few inches, but a two-legged hop takes them much farther and when they get up some momentum, they can bounce across the ground like wind-up mechanical toys.

Most of our other local birds walk though blue jays flying in for a landing sometimes take a few hops when they first touch down, like a taxiing airplane.

Robins on the hunt are businesslike. They take brief runs across the grass, then stop short and cock their heads, listening for worms and other underground insects. Then off again to another spot.

Mourning doves, by contrast, wander aimlessly, seeming confused – as if they’d lost something somewhere but can’t quite remember what.

Rock pigeons strut around like self-important dignitaries but the constant nodding of their heads back and forth with each step somewhat spoils the effect.

Starlings march across the grass with determination, like an old-time cop on the beat. Crows stride casually but aggressively, conveying a clear don’t-mess-with-me message.

Each in its own way, birds act out their roles on Nature’s stage.

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EDITORIAL NOTE: We have worked our way through the initial batch of reader stories and beginning next week, I will start publishing second stories from some of the same writers.

So – you may now start sending new stories whether you have published previously or not. Instructions are here. Only one story. Please.


I'm impressed by your keen observations of nature and am inspired to just sit and be more observant of behaviors around me. Thank you for that.

I like this. Thanks for the lovely descriptions of our beloved feathered cousins. (I wish you could see our local pheasants here in the SW of England. The males strut around as if they hope all the world is watching and admiring them. The females - not so much!)

This was so enjoyable. I could visualize exactly what was happening. Hope to read more by Diane Darrow.

Delightful. I knew that robins walk or run almost like humans, while many other birds hop. But that's based on observation from years ago, when I grew up with broad lawns under huge old trees. Yards are much smaller here and species fewer.

Thanks for observing and noting. Birds, our messengers from another realm.

Your observations and enjoyment of the birds draws my interest beyond mere listening to them, which I like to do while walking. Presently my connection is with the crows on early morns when I leave food for them and listen to them relay the information, then watch another 7-9 gather for their 'feast.'

Birds are a life connection on numerous levels for me. Thanks for this.

A little finch couple has built a nest in my fern. I watch them every morning from my chair in the sunroom. Can’t wait until the little babies come. They are amazing creatures who somehow know just what to do and how to do it at just the right time. They take teamwork to the next level!

Thanks for the great story.

Yesterday I saw a little bird thoroughly enjoying a dust bath in my back yard. It made my day.

Can you baby boomers hurry up and fucking drop dead? Enjoy your retirement homes cause we younger people will not take care of you even if we wanted to, due to the shitty economy you boomers created. Do you boomers realize that the younger generation is simply waiting for you to fucking drop dead?

You are all going to end up in retirement homes and we all know that the elderly gets treated pretty badly in retirement homes. Well, that's what you get for ruining your own children's lives. Even if your children WANTED to take care of you, they couldn't, due to you boomers destroying the economy. So I hope you enjoy the retirement homes, boomer scum!

Enjoy going to hell, baby boomers!

This "jebeep" doesn't even seem to realize that most of us are older than boomers. Ronnie, I hope you'll trash this troll. Everyone else, thank you for the comments. Birds are great, aren't they?

This "jebeep" doesn't even seem to realize that most of us are older than boomers. Ronni, I hope you'll trash this troll. Everyone else, thank you for the comments. Birds are great, aren't they?

I feel sorry for people who carry such a load of rage. Their own lives must be very painful. I would not want to live in their heads.

And chickens... They try to cross the road.
Great observations!

Thank you Diane Darrow, for your bird observations today -- one of my favorite topics! I began converting my yard to native plants and bird and pollinator friendly habitat many years ago and, although the space is small, I've been deeply enjoying the results for several years. The robins take the most enthusiastic baths, and I love watching them splash around joyfully. As odd as it may sound, my favorite birds vocalization is that of grackles. A pair has nested in my neighbor's eaves each spring for years and they have the most interesting, inflected conversations among themselves. As for motion, the nuthatches that hop down trees, headfirst, to reach the feeders are delightful, and the large flicker woodpeckers that have made a home around here somewhere fill the air most mornings with loud calls and rat-a-tat-tats on dead branches. In contrast, the tiny hummingbirds that will be returning soon from their long migration, lift my heart more than I can say. Birds are so amazing!

(Regarding today's 'elephant in the room' comment -- I can't imagine what it's like to go through life with the bitterness and hostility that must lie beneath those words, but it's pretty disturbing. )

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