The Scavengers

Monday, June 26, 2017   730 am 61 degrees

I approach Fair Oaks Village hoping to hear the morning serenade of resident chickens. Not today. A few  chickens wander quietly through the street.

Arriving at Fair Oaks Bridge, I feel a slight, cool breeze. The sun already sits high into the sky throwing intense heat. The sky is filled with white, puffy clouds. Half dozen pigeons circle the bridge for their morning ritual before resting on the bridge frame overhead. In an instant, the pigeons fly to the boat launch ramp nearby. The river sparkles, yet it is empty.

ducklings, Canada Geese, scavenger, boat launch ramp, Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks, American River, American River ParkwayMany of the Mallards and Canada Geese scour the rocky edge of the American River at Jim’s Bridge or other points farther west. When one duck sees food thrown into the air, soon two or four at a time, they all show up to snatch a free meal.

Egrets and Great Blue Herons remain absent from the former morning stations. They have moved to where they can find food.

Spider webs stretch across the bridge vertical rails as they always do. A few walkers and cyclists pass. Today, the river at Fair Oaks Bridge is so still and clear, I can see small, round rocks sitting on the bottom. As I sit watching the water, a lone Canada Goose floats by on the water. I walk down to the boat launch ramp to get a closer look of the morning activity and see half dozen geese approach me. Canada Geese are always looking for a handout. I tear up bits of lettuce and toss them on the ramp. They sniff, take a taste and walk away. They quietly begin morning cleaning rituals, scavenge the ground for food and shortly afterwards swim away. The river is empty once again.