A Wake For A Yellow Tanager Bird



An interesting event happened recently and although it is not about pets, it is about birds.

On our morning tour of my property with the dogs, I found a dead bird lying on the little table near my guest house.


Birds grieve at the loss of a mate or a friend, just as humans do.

It was a pretty bird -- yellow with black wings and a red head. I believe it was a Western Tanager. Gibson led me to notice that another bird was on the chair next to this table -- unmoving.

Since the second bird was sitting up, I assumed it was alive. I immediately brought the dogs into the house and retrieved my camera, took a few photos and we went on our morning walk. On our return, I brought the dogs into the house and went to check the bird situation. The sitting-up bird was gone. A funeral followed.

It is so easy to watch birds fly here and there and not realize that they are part of a social group just as we are.

Many birds mate for life. When one of the pair dies, there is a grieving process. More than once, I have heard people tell of seeing a duck or other bird sitting on the side of the road watching over his/her dead partner. They do grieve.

A while back, a large bird flew into my window. I was amazed that the window did not break. The injured bird, a mountain dove, was just outside my window and I could see that the beak was injured. I kept the dogs in the house.

Later that night, the injured bird flew into a nearby tree. I was delighted with the recovery and once again, allowed my dogs free run of the yard.

The miracle happened the next morning. The injured bird was dead on the ground, but the tree was full of like-breed birds.

It was certainly a wake. Eventually they all left.

Never before or since has there been such a number of these birds on my tree. They simply came to pay their final respects to their fallen member.

It is so easy to say -- it is just a bird. But, they are amazing.

Before moving to Strawberry, I lived in Cave Creek. Driving one day, I saw a hawk sitting on a tree limb clinging onto a baby rabbit with its claw.

This bird and its partner saw me stopping to watch. The partner immediately began trying to get my attention away from the one with the rabbit.

I watched and appreciated the communication, the caring, the need to feed the offspring and all that goes on among wildlife. I drove on.

While walking in the neighborhood, my houseguests watched as a hawk carefully carried off an egg from another bird's nest.

Often I see a bird deliberately distracting a squirrel or another bird from their nest.

Nature is wonderful. We need to spend more time watching it.

I have a tray hanging from a tree limb right outside my window in which I keep a fairly- decent supply of bird seed.

Beside it is a large shallow bowl full of water.

Birds and squirrels are eating and drinking all day and provide wonderful entertainment, much better than television is able to offer.

We are fortunate to have such an abundance of nature all around us. Hopefully, we will not miss it.

Groups and events for dogs and their humans

Every Monday morning at 10 a.m., a group of people interested in working with and having fun with their dogs is gathering at Rumsey Park near Ramada 1. There is no fee and no set curriculum.

Come and work together with others and achieve your goals. Learn from and share with others. No registration. Just come and bring lots of tasty treats.

A dog group is forming in the Rim Country.

This group is dedicated to bringing together people that want to work with, play with and train their dogs for fun, for therapy, for service, for competition, for whatever.

All activities and training will be positive using treats and possibly clickers, in a safe, fun and rewarding environment.

This group will be dedicated to reward-based training.

If you are interested in being involved with such a group, call or e-mail Dale Klausner, 928-468-8245, dklausner@hughes .net or Christy Powers, 928-476-2239, cpwrather@earthlink.net.

We will set up an initial meeting to establish goals and objectives for the group.

There are a lot of people who would like to get involved in different activities with their dogs but do not know where to begin. Others are interested in competitive obedience, rally, agility and other great dog sports.

Contact us and be a part of this new organization.

The Northern Gila County Fair will have Doggie Fun Day on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Event Center in Payson.

There will be lots of fun dog activities for dogs and people of all ages. Watch for more details.

Dog Day in the Park, sponsored by PAWS, Payson Off Leash Dog Park, will be Saturday, Oct. 20.

Blue's Dog Walk, sponsored by Blue's Gallery in Pine, will be on Saturday, Oct. 13.

All proceeds will go to the Payson Humane Society and the Pine/Strawberry School.

Watch for more information.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.