The relatively tame Common Fiscal we have dubbed Meneer used to fly back and forth collecting food to feed a growing family. Competition was fierce for not only was there the long-established ringed Common Fiscal to contend with, but at one point a third one joined the fray. Meneer was in the pound seats though for he had early on established a relationship with me as a source of food. He began by perching on my toe, then on my knee, or he sometimes perched on the edge of my bowl of breakfast. Each time he would gently take a small titbit of food from my hand and fly off, to return again and again. He could thus afford to bypass the other two fiercely fighting fiscals and come straight to me. Then he stopped. The breeding season has tailed off and there is no longer an urgent need to fill frantically gaping mouths. I thought our relationship had ended until Meneer recently perched on the trunk of a cabbage tree, just above my head.
He looked at me quizzically as if to say “Where’s the food?” I was drinking tea. “Wait there,” I told him and rose to cut a piece of fish into tiny blocks.
I moved to the garden table and he followed. Instead of snatching the food from the shallow dish, Meneer remembered his manners and looked at me intently, waiting for me to place a piece of fish in my hand. He took it gently and flew into the tangle of branches nearby to eat it. He returned for another handout before flying off.
He still appears now and then and, if I do not have anything immediately at hand, waits until I fetch something for him. He never stays for long and usually only takes one offering. It is almost as if he is telling me not to forget him, for the time will come again when he will require my assistance once more.