Goldie and Olive

The air temperature dropped as the sun began to set. On the tip top of the highest branch sat Goldie, a petite, slim, bright yellow and black goldfinch. This particular spot was his favorite place to perch when making important calls. He sang out at the top of his tiny lungs. His song was on repeat with a subtler flourish at the end of each loop. With urgency, he picked up the pace as the sky rapidly darkened. It was past the time to go to their nest, and his mate was still nowhere to be found. By now they should have been back in their favorite nook in an old cypress tree, where they would huddle tightly together to keep warm throughout the night. Hidden deep within the branches, the nest kept them safe from wind, rain, and most importantly predators. His tiny heart raced as he sang furiously, the sun rapidly sinking, leaving behind a chilly evening. Darkness was dangerous, as this was the time of the owls. Getting no response after one last lilting call, he lifted off and swiftly flew across the deep indigo sky towards their nest, hopeful that he would find his mate there, safe and sound.

Stealthily, Goldie slipped through the tangle of dry branches, landing in the secret nook, where he sat all alone. Looking around, he saw no sign of his mate. He puffed up his feather coat and curled his body into a ball, tucking in his beak into his chest to keep warm. Letting out a few desperate peeping sounds as a last ditch effort to call for his friend, he fell into a deep sleep. In his dreams, they flew in tandem through the dawn skies, happy and free.

The soft rustle, murmur and cooing of mourning doves in the grasses below woke Goldie from his slumber. Expecting to see his mate, he was startled when he realized he was all alone. Elongating his neck, and stretching his wings, he shook his small body and stood up on his tiny legs, stretching them one at a time. Next, he made his way along a branch from which he lifted off with ease into the crisp morning air. It was a sunny clear day, and he headed to the place that he and his friend went to most often. There was a flurry of activity this morning. Stormy weather was coming in, so everyone was stocking up. The mourning doves were already there, as well as sparrows, and a family of house finches. Goldie landed in a tree close to the seed bar, and watched to see where he could best fit in.

He felt lonely and sad as he watched a couple of sparrows taking a bath in the shallow bowl. He missed his friend and wondered what had happened. Flying over to perch on a small rock close to the seeds, Goldie jumped down and began to devour as much as he could. It was only a matter of time before the dove family would push everyone away. Their peaceful demeanor was all a cover-up for territorial bully behavior. The only thing worse than competing with doves was competing with squirrels. One squirrel in particular. Boris was massive in size, and would lie down completely motionless other than his quivering whiskers. Vacuuming seeds voraciously through his mouth, his cheeks would swell to epic porportions. It only took him a short time to clean up all of the food. He would leave not a single seed in his wake. Fortunately, the doves did keep him at bay, and this bought more time for the small birds to get a few seeds, and catch what had scattered.

Goldie sat observing the other birds. Very carefully, he made his way to the edge of the water bowl. Pausing there momentarily, he heard an unfamiliar sound. A sweet song rang out from the brush. A soft rustling noise caught his attention, and he turned to see a tiny wren hopping along the ledge. Olive’s movements were happy and carefree. For her rotund proportions, she was surprisingly light on her tiny feet. She had a high voice and a soft green coat. Her body was petite and completely round. She made eye contact from across the small pool. As if to challenge him, she cocked her head, pausing to look at him sideways. With a short loud chirp, she jumped onto the ledge and dropped right into the container, making quite a splash. Disappearing in a flurry of water droplets, she shook her tiny wings and wiggled in the bath with joy. Goldie momentarily forgot his sad thoughts, and finding the wren’s energy contagious, he jumped in as well. They splashed and flicked their feathers, letting out random chirps of glee. They paused afterwards on the ledge to air dry their feathers in the sun. Goldie was almost twice as tall as Olive, yet he was half her width. She had a pointy long skinny beak, and he had a robust curved profile. He didn’t understand her songs, and she couldn’t his, but they had a mutual connection immediately.

Just then, the rest of the dove family landed one by one. There were 5 of them in total. They worked as a team, lining up to barricade the seed area. Most of the small birds where whisked away by the largest dove who flustered and batted his big wings close to them. Finally he hopped over to scare Goldie and Olive. Terrified by the patriarch, they flew into a nearby tree, landing close to one another on a delicate branch, chirping with glee. It was exciting fun, and they had shared a moment. It was this incident that bonded them for life.

Although they were from a different species, shaped in different sizes, spoke different languages, they had an undeniable connection. From then on they would meet every morning at the feeding spot, and spend the day together eating, bathing, singing and protecting one another.

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