Pay No Attention

In Schenley Park on Saturday I found this not-quite-fledgling Baltimore oriole perched low near the trail.  I noticed him only because his father made a warning sound and leapt away from the area.

The father bird distracted me (on purpose) but I remembered where he’d made the sound and looked when he left.  His baby was among the leaves, immobile and stoic.  The little bird didn’t move a muscle.  He didn’t make a sound. His survival depended on it.

When I saw him I stepped way back and used binoculars to view him. I knew not to stare.

Only a few days ago a young man had asked me about a nest of baby birds he’d found in a shrub in his yard.  Day after day he had moved the leaves to look at the babies.  Then one day the nest was knocked down and all the babies gone without a trace.  He knew they were too young to fly and wondered where they went. Sadly the young man’s attention probably revealed the nest to a predator.

I didn’t want my attention to end this tiny oriole’s life so I quickly snapped his picture and hurried down the trail.

On my return trip three hours later I didn’t pause but a quick glance assured me his strategy was working. He was still perched, motionless. He looked like a leaf.

Pay no attention.

(photo by Kate St. John)

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