After leaving Fair Oaks Bridge Wednesday morning, I stopped to watch this very determined mother hen find food. Her chicks watch with great interest. Listen closely to their high pitched “peeps.” Eventually she and her chicks moved up the hill into the shrubs, not finding anything to eat after so much effort. Fair Oaks chickens wander the village, parks, side streets and fly into trees on both sides of the river. Their morning song carries through the air beginning long before I arrive at 630 am.
The Next Day Mother Hen Sits
After giving away all the bread, my daughter and I leave the boat launch ramp and cross the bridge to return home. I show her the place where the mother hen was searching the day before. We see her on the other side of the street sitting quietly in the dirt. We stand and watch several minutes wondering Why is she so still, not making a sound. Is she injured? When will she move? Then she spreads her feathers and rises up. We see four baby chicks run out from underneath and follow their mother as she climbs up the side of the hill.
“She was keeping her babies warm! Being a good mom!”
I pass by two ducks on a walk for food during a short bike ride on the American River Parkway. They stop to investigate what morsels they find in the dirt. Finding nothing, they cross the path. I continue to monitor the river to see what waterfowl have returned. The river is still too deep and the search for food remains a challenge.
I opened my front door to see the end of the brilliant pink strips of sunrise just before they faded to gray. By the time I reached Fair Oaks Bridge, bright white and scattered clouds showed no sign of the intense colors they held only moments before. The sun was already shining yellow over the horizon. Today the chilly air feels heavy with moisture.
Today is the final day of fishing in this part of the American River for the rest of the year. I saw so no one catch salmon and missed their leaps high enough out of the water to be seen. I missed seeing their struggles to set themselves free – seeing only a few random splashes instead.
Other bridge visitors told me that salmon were swimming out in the river, but more of them had already reached the weir at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery. I will be looking for leaping salmon at “the narrows,” passage upriver in November during the heaviest part of the fall run.
I am surprised there is still no scent of decaying salmon. Nearly 100 seagulls gather and wait in the American River and on the sandbar a mile east of Fair Oaks Bridge. I watch and wonder when will the salmon show themselves?