Our Animal Kingdom


This morning, Thursday, we drive to a local McDonald’s Drive Up for coffee, as we often do. Our parking area faces a groomed, fenced area, at the base of a McKinney city water tank. Birds, grackles, both common and great-tailed, are extremely busy mating and gathering nesting material.

Mr. Black, the family mascot, has joined us on this sunny morning. He’s a high-strung creature. After I’ve drunk half my coffee he starts gagging.

Quickly, I attach his leash and walk him in the grass along the parameter fence. A great-tailed grackle, obviously not a dog lover, is perched on the roof rack of a nearby car. He sets up a great fuss, scolding this intruder. Mr. Black, however, tunes him out, concentrating, instead, on who last visited this patch of grass and when, and immediately forgets about being sick. Though I’m certain Mr. Black is aware of the bird he pretends not to notice. When we turn back toward the car, the noisy bird falls silent and then abandons his post, trading that perch for a distant tree.

And life in the animal kingdom goes on.