I’ve hung the bird feeders
on the west side of the city house,
behind a fence, hoping
to keep the birds safer
from neighborhood cats. At dusk
one evening, I saw an orange tabby,
its front paws on the bird bath,
taking a drink. I did not see feathers.
Sparrows discovered the seed first.
I think there is a flock of about 60.
They line up on the fence
and take their turns at the feeders,
flutter away when something alarms them.

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That flock-fluttering sound
is a new sound; with windows open
I can hear in just about every room
of the house.
Cardinals and doves have arrived.

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A Blue Jay and a Mockingbird
have called from atop the fence,
but I’ve never seen them eating there.
I have watched three squirrels
feast from the seeds the birds drop
beneath the feeders. I don’t think the squirrels
have figured out how to get to the feeders.
Yesterday and this morning
I saw hummingbirds.

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The birds and squirrels are as much company
in the city
as they are in the country—
I watched an adult sparrow and a juvenile
share seed, beak to beak—
though here
there is lots more human company as well.
Friends who come to call
or gather in the living room for meetings
enjoy watching the birds too—
right there through the living room windows.

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I’m so glad to be able to spend time
in a city community
with lots of trees,
birds,
squirrels,
cats,
humans.