Red-breasted Nuthatch

Curious, cautious, camouflaged
in flocks of friendly chickadees,
an acrobatic flash of rusty ballast
beneath his plump grey form.
Bursts of movement, punctuated
spongy murmurs nasal and tin
scaling up and down scabby bark
mining furrows for hidden prey.
Black mask, white stripe
above a beak of long-grain rice
probing, gripping, creeping
upside down inverted dance
across stands of spruce and fir.
Wedging, cracking seeds and cache
warmly wrapping a wreath of sap
around its coniferous threshold.

© SF Jones, 2016

Red-necked Grebes

Tufted bedheads
tow slick grass in
aquatic relay,
building
strand by strand
submerged mound crowned with
sticks and mucky glue /
an island
purposed for gently
mottled marsh eggs.
Spring brings
zebra striped baggage tucked
under wings,
copper throats and blank
cheeks cut calm water
spreading the surface
sending silence / ripples
refracting
off rocks on course
for hazy lakeshore.

© SF Jones, 2014

Cactus Wren

Hairy chirps and rush
of ruby eye. The rusty crest
and tempo bloom through simple buds.
She claws at handfuls /
foraging sand and silt.
Sifting rounded grains.
Her voice is rattled dice, waspy
insect cries.
Dusty spots and bars
freckle youth on boldly speckled suits.
Encrusted nests, weave tampered
sticks with moats of cholla armour.
A pair of ashy legs can dance
over silent spines / her solo steps
sync to raw maraca beats.

© SF Jones, 2014