The spring birds are loudly and proudly making their spring sounds, filling the air with a cacophony of cheeps and tweets. Although most are heard and not seen, the all-American robin proves to be a very visible spring bird, constantly scuttling on the ground in search of the worm. Despite their visibility, my attempts at capturing the robin’s spring plumage in photos have been mostly a failed effort. Robins will let you get pretty close to them, but soon as you steady your camera, they will skitter away. The robins are clearly afraid of me, and, having left my bird costume at home, I have been unable to alleviate this problem. Despite my failures in photography, I did get notably close to one bird species this week.
The only thing I have done since returning to greenhouse work is pick up random piles of sticks and leaves around campus and put them in the back of my Club Car to then dump onto a bigger pile of plant matter by the greenhouse. Similarly to the prizes found inside cereal boxes, these piles on campus often contain things that are not sticks and leaves, like a shiny ball of aluminum foil and what looked to be someone’s black undergarments. In one particular leaf pile in the quad, we found about a pound of feathers. Upon flipping over this mass with a pitchfork, we surmised that it was in fact a red-tailed hawk that had passed on and that it may or not have had a head. I began picking up the leaves around the bird. I wasn’t really sure if “hearse driver” matched with my other credentials as a greenhouse employee, so I hesitated on scooping up the bird as well. That being said, the alternative would have meant leaving it in the middle of the quad which was also not ideal. So, I took the hawk back with me. Its earthly body has been buried within layers of plant matter.
If you walked on the path between the Deece and Main, you may have noticed a mass of mulch by Ely Hall. It started as a simple path of mulch, but has since grown at an alarming rate. By my estimates, in four years, the entire ground will be covered in mulch. In twenty years, the mulch will have learned how to grow vertically, and will have mulchified every tree and every building. They will start calling this “Mulch University” instead. No one will want to go to Mulch University. The Canada geese, realizing the absence of people on campus, will start expanding their range out from Sunset Lake to inhabit the bulk of Mulch University. The geese will learn how to build with the mulch and create hospitals, schools and mulch monuments to the great goose leaders. Goose society will soon rival people society. But that’s a while from now. Focus on graduating while the mulch is still at bay.