Sipping my cappuccino, the second of the morning, I feel its caffeine begin to flow and spark interest in something other than the television. My first coffee of the day had

English: A Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans), ...

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been decaf and although I see no problem with this, the obvious lack of spark drove me to have a second – but with caf.

Last night I fell asleep reading a book that took a lot of concentration on my part. I was in that deep sleep where my body felt like concrete when I heard a very strange sound. Immediately I thought it was Mr. Owl but more fully awake I realized it was yet another weird animal sound I had no name for. I could not name that animal.

I’ve lived in this area a long time and pride myself with the limited knowledge I have of our native creatures. Last spring I saw so many rattlesnakes (while hiking) it was mind-boggling and scary. Deer, skunk, ravens, parrots, dogs, cats, squirrels, blue jays, mocking birds, tiny cute black birds with white chests, teeny tiny yellow birds, woodpeckers, owls, coyotes, mountain lions, lizards, spiders, rats, bats, and hawks…to name a few. But last night the sound I heard was so creepy it reminded me of the murderous squawking of a few weeks ago. Whatever was outside was alien. Was it a fox? Do we have fox in Los Angeles? It wasn’t a cat.

At first I thought it was a friend of mine outside my window. When he lived here he thought it was funny to make strange sounds to wake me up. Hopefully he is being arrested for this behavior in another country. Half asleep I began to think the animal was talking to me, then I let my ego rest and began to worry about the well-being of this unknown beasty. What the hell kind of animal makes such a pathetic and hideous sound? With each yelp/crow/screech it sounded more bereft. Then the last two lamentations were like a death cry…and it was gone.

With my luck it will have been the mating call of some bird and it is happily resting after getting it on with one of its kind. What I find interesting is the change that is apparently going on in the animal world. Where once one would only see a hawk while hiking, they are now living it up in town. The once annoying and prevalent blue jay is now a rare sight…and I can’t say I will miss his voice. Even the mockingbird is more scarce. The big bad boys of birds are moving in, but the hummingbirds never say die.

Well I’m off to cut back the bird of paradise (no pun intended). All things must be trimmed.

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