The Scissorbill

It was two weeks back when I first noticed.

The gate to the back yard was open, which isn’t such a curiosity in itself. The latch catches badly and sometimes it needs a good pulling-to to get it firmly caught.

I was looking down from the upstairs hallway window, seeing eight inch cedar fronds – cedar branch tips, really – scattered on the gravel walkway and the bordering grass. Who would have done that?

I tossed it around in my mind. Had someone been in the yard? There were three second-growth large trees on the east side of the property and on the western side, trees just beyond the fence in the neighbour’s one acre yard.  There twenty seven large trees on that property, all inventoried for the inevitable redevelopment of the property. Some would have to stay; most of them would go.

There were cedars and firs but these mystery fronds were only from one of the cedar trees. It wasn’t as if they were dropping from all trees. If that had been the case, it might have been an unnamed disease.  I didn’t count, but I guesstimated maybe a hundred tips were sitting there and in the wheelbarrow, now filled with recent rains,  that I haven’t put away during the winter.

There was no evidence of a human intruder. There were no ladder depressions in the hardpan earth that was supposed to be growing grass. There were no footprints.  Anyway, why would anyone cut cedar branch tips then leave them on the ground.

I telephoned my concern to Mrs. Stepford who assisted me in mulling over all the thoughts I’d had to date.  At the end of it, she said, “I can’t help you there…” and trailed off into silence.

I wasn’t willing to let it go.

“It’s just out of reach for people of my height. Even a tall man couldn’t cut them off from the ground.”

“But why?” she said, “Why would anyone  do that? Unless it were an animal, maybe?”

“What about a bird? Could a bird be looking for nesting material? Cedar smells very nice and the cedar is not prickly,”  I countered, then added with a rising excitement in my voice, “What if we’ve got a Western Scissorbill that’s migrated to our area. I’ve never seen one before.”

“A Western Scissorbill?” she scoffed. “What’s a Western Scissorbill? I’ve never heard of one before.”

“Well, if it’s not a Scissorbill, ” I answered without answering, ” maybe it’s a Red crested lopper.”
“Yah?” she said in disbelief. “Maybe it’s a Steel-beaked Secateur. Are you putting me on?”

“Or a Razor-billed grosbeak. ” I couldn’t hold back a chuckle.

“Or a Tinsnip Towhee.” she chortled as we vied to invent bird names.

“Or a Yellow handled Hacksaw”, I continued, as we both dissolved into laughter.

When we settled down a little, I said, “No, seriously. I think it must the Western Scissorbill. I can’t think of anything else that might have done it.”

“Enough!” she said. “I’m going back to my vacuuming.”

“And me to my dishwashing. I’ll call you up for tea, later.”
And I did.

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2 Responses to “The Scissorbill”

  1. swatch Says:

    Hey K
    So – what is it?
    Is this who is calling in your latest post?

    S

  2. lookingforbeauty Says:

    I don’t think so. The scissorbill is a strong, silent type. Haven’t heard a peep out of him.
    The fellow who is out looking for a new mate – I think it actually may be a robin. The robins are our harbingers of spring.
    Though I look and listen, I haven’t seen either Romeo nor the silent arborist.
    K

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