We've written before about the variety of bird life here at the monastery. Birds seem to consider our monastic enclosure a sanctuary. Recently we became acquainted with a bird many of us had seen flying through the woods or perched on a tree, looking for bugs--a pileated woodpecker! Compared to the birds we usually see (mockingbirds, cardinals, etc) this bird is huge!
Actual picture of our pileated woodpecker!
It's also very friendly...for a bird. It enjoys clawing its way along the windowsill, peering in the refectory at the nuns who are trying to eat their breakfast (or dinner, or supper) in peace. It has also been known to fly into the crepe myrtle tree outside the refectory window and swing upside-down from the branches, providing much entertainment! These woodpeckers are supposed to be common in east Texas. We kind of wish this one would go out in the woods and take care of some of the bugs in our trees! At the same time, though, we enjoy watching him watching us...or something like that.
And yes, we are still visited by the cardinal. He taps on windows all over the monastery, but has a special affinity for the refectory window, too. (What is it about that refectory?) We looked up cardinals in the bird book and found they can live as long as 15 years...could this be the same bird, or is he passing his dubious talent down to his offspring?
A little blurry of the bird, but you get the idea...