Three times today I had to rescue my pets from a gang of magpies that were clacking and scolding from the large crabapple tree in the back yard. Again, I went to get my tall stick and wave them off.
This last time, however, I was going to lurk under the branches of the tree and startle them again once they settled. Then I noticed the black and white body of an adolescent laying in the grass.
They had been mourning and trying to warn the dogs off the body, I finally realized. I felt bad for trying to startle and scare them.
I went into the house for gloves and returned to the spot. The body was limp. Hard to say how long it had been there, but the magpies had been making a racket since sunrise so I’m guessing it had been there for a while.
I picked up the dead bird and carried it off on the opposite side of the yard. I couldn’t just toss the body anywhere.
I decided what had to happen is I had to take it to our pet cemetery. I also had to let those other magpies know the body had been moved, so I set it up on this old wooden rocking horse. Below the rocking horse leaned retablos of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Francis.
After a few hours, I will bury the magpie and hope the other birds would take their mourning session to the other side of the yard, set up a memorial service in the wild plums.
I was sorry for the bird and I was sorry for the ones who clacked and cried so loud.