A fluttering knot of young birds falls from the crepe myrtle, calling, “Fee Bee.” Pearl cocks her white head, then returns her attention to the area beneath the juniper and the pears. Her flockmates do the same in their lawn zones.
The phoebes don’t let up. They sit on the pole barn shouting out of synch as if their little lives depend on it.
Now a pair of bluebirds tumble from the porch roof, bounce off the clothesline, and swoop into the crepe myrtle, where they sit on separate branches, giggling. Like the phoebes, they likely fledged last year. A third bluebird joins them. They’re all just goofing around, these youngsters, flexing their voices and wings.
Pearl keeps hunting, slightly annoyed, wondering who feeds these silly birds. Her sole purpose is to fatten up before flying north and starting a family. They are in round-robin mode; when one finds food, they all eat, and this unsprayed lawn on the Moncure Pittsboro Road is full of fat worms.
The humans inside the house linger by the windows of their big, square cage. They wonder if Pearl knows she doesn’t look like the others and whether or not the black-backed robins treat her differently.
They snap some photos before turning their attention back to the refrigerator. Bob and Camille are fattening up while the weather is still cool, just like the robins. Then it begins to rain, and the flock returns to the trees. Bob tends his orchids. Camille opens her laptop to write.