Wagner’s birdseed with black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts and cracked corn boasts that it will attract the widest variety of birds. I believe it. Dark-eyed juncos, tufted titmice, Northern Cardinals, Starlings, and House Sparrows. House Finches, Nuthatches, Chickadees – A and I have an ongoing conversation about whether these are Black-capped Chickadees or Carolina Chickadees. And an occasional visit from Blue Jays – whom I love regardless of their less than popular ways- Downy Woodpeckers and even a Red-Bellied Woodpecker. They are all fluttering about our feeders in the morning and at noon, which often delays the start of our gathering for morning school work, and prolongs our lunchtime.
But the ones who have surprised me the most are the Robins.
They are still hanging around. I guess I was not aware that not all these harbingers of spring migrate each year to warmer climates. They are certainly appreciative of the bright red berries on the Green Hawthorn(?) tree outside our sun room. All these grainy, poorly focused photos were taken with my phone through the window. All those berries were gulped down by about fifteen Robins in one day!
Scanning the internet for bird quotes, I alighted upon this one.
The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.
How would you even mistake a jay for a sparrow? I realize I do not have a a context for this quote; I randomly pulled it from Goodreads, but I don’t really agree. Neither would Vladimir Nabokov. A likely apocryphal story has a Cornell University student seeking advice as a writer.
“What kind of tree is that?” Nabokov supposedly inquired, gesturing out the window.
“I don’t know,” shrugged the student.
“Then you will never be a writer.” returned Nabokov discouragingly.
Perhaps he meant to say that details are important. The more we know something, the more we have the capacity to love it.
All day the sun has shone on the surface of some savage swamp, where the single spruce stands hung with usnea lichens, and small hawks circulate above, and the chickadee lisps amid the evergreens, and the partridge and rabbit skulk beneath; but now a more dismal arid fitting day dawns, and a different race of creatures awakes to express the meaning of Nature there.
-Henry David Thoreau, from Walden
Whether flitting about the feeder, scratching on the ground or taking shelter in the bushes, I take great delight in the presence of all the birds. I love all their markings, crests and patterns. My children have picked up on feeding patterns and seed preferences. We are even able to predict at what time of day our favorite feathered friends will appear. Each of us has our own favorites. We are cultivating friendships, and there is something joyous about providing for them.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
2 thoughts on “Window Ornithology”
I like all your bird quotes, and I also don’t agree with that first one. Personally, I want to like all the birds living around our house, but so many of them actually live in the small spaces between the brick and our windows and make my windows so constantly dirty that I have a hard time of it.
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