Annie and Dennett, update on our neighborhood watch. We were having lunch and enjoying our birds when Deb noticed a jay and a catbird getting overwrought about a stick on the back bank. They fluttered like mad and puffed themselves up. Then the jay went to peck the stick, which proceeded to move up hill! BLACK SNAKE! Big one, maybe a yard long. Another jay and a couple more catbirds joined in, so the snake slithered under one of the bushes. The jays tried to lure it out (at least I assumed that was what they were doing — they sat down on the ground with one wing flopping on the side, like “Oh! Oh! Mercy, I am injured! Let not a fierce snake come forth, or woe, I am slain!”) but there was no response, so they got bored and left. The catbirds hung around a little longer. Everything calmed down, but ten minutes later Deb spotted the catbirds pecking at the snake as it tried to escape up hill. No vocal alarms at all, as opposed to the crow or hawk invasions, which bring in shrieks of bloody murder and an all-hands (claws?) response.
Deb was fascinated.
ME: I thought you were scared of snakes!
DEB: Sure! When I’m right next to one. When I’ve got a porch window and half a backyard protecting me, I’m fine with just watching one.
ME: So you’re okay with having snakes in our backyard?
DEB: And if I wasn’t, what would you be able to do?
Also tagging Dusty Craig, who I know is busy but is another one who often has good animal life stories.