Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Blessing from Nature

Pine Siskin (photo from All about Birds)

"You're goin' to heaven, man -- the way you feed these birds!" my neighbor told me as he was walking past our house one day. I was in the process of refilling some feeders with thistle seed and others with sunflower seed.  My response was, "As long as the birds come, I'm in heaven already!" We've had the usual finches, cardinals, titmice, and sparrows. Lately I've also spotted an indigo bunting and a rose-breasted grosbeak. I haven't had the camera out to catch the bunting or the grosbeak, beautiful though they are, but here are some older photos I've taken of goldfinches and a house finch:

A Moment of Special Visitation

I wrote last autumn about an unusual encounter with a phoebe while on a bird watching expedition. I had a similar blessed encounter in my own back yard last week. We had recently done some rearranging in our yard after taking down a couple of old Leyland cypress trees. There had been a birdbath near those trees that robins, doves and mockingbirds made frequent use of. With the trees gone, we moved the birdbath to the other end of the yard, near an oak (birds like having the protection of a tree nearby when visiting a birdbath). The new spot is also in the proximity of our birdfeeders. I discovered that in its new location we gained a new clientele: the finches and titmice are now visiting that birdbath.

As it happened on that special day, I was outside doing some yard work. While walking past the birdbath, I looked down to see a pine siskin (like the one pictured above) splashing about in the water. At first I was afraid the little bird was hurt since it was making no attempts to fly away when I approached. I stopped and waited to observe some more. The bird appeared to be fine. She (or was it a he?) would splash about, take a drink, splash some more then take another drink. With me standing there beside the birdbath, the little bird look me in the eye then looked straight ahead as if to say, "This is some fine water!" The siskin then hopped up on the edge of the birdbath. I held my finger out to see what he (or was it a she?) would do. The bird sat there calmly. I slowly moved my finger closer, pressing against her (or his) front feathers. Still, the bird sat content on the side of the birdbath. Turning about, the bird took another drink from the water then flew up to the holly bushes where the thistle feeders were.

Part of the Natural Order

There seems to be something in us that longs to make connection with the natural world. Usually we must be content with proximity, but on occasion, a heavenly visitor assures us that we, too, are part of this world of wonder.

Old birdbath, new location


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