We live our entire lives among some of nature’s most beautiful and skilled creatures and they nearly fade entirely from our awareness. Birds, for example. At least in this part of the world, you can’t really go a minute outside without a sighting, they are as commonplace as grass and as such, we often treat them with about as much awe and wonder. It’s understandable, you spend your entire lives around someone with very little interaction, they just become part of the scenery. If we stopped and pointed out every bird we encountered, we’d never get anything done.
Then recently, I started to stop and point out every bird I encountered. I’m not sure if it’s because becoming vegan really does make you more in tune to all of Earth’s beings, seeing just how we are all connected or it’s because I’m older and sitting on park benches talking to birds all day is looking more appealing. Whatever the case may be, I’ve become a bird fanatic. I still don’t know different bird species but I’m learning and I won’t be happy until I can identify them by their calls, so far I only have Cardinal-speak in my repertoire. I watch my bird-feeders from my window multiple times a day and now seemingly each bird that comes along my path. Somehow, I still manage to get things done.
As I became more in tune to birds’ magical existence, I felt my life being rewarded with more personal encounters. Some a little closer than others. Like the day as I was sitting on my couch, typing away on my laptop with my two sleepy pups book-ending me like usual, I heard a little rustling sound coming from our dining table which is in our big open floor plan living/dining room. I thought nothing of it, we hear all kinds of weird noises in this old house but then I heard it again. I looked over and on Julian’s seat at the table perched a little finch, or maybe he was a wren, I’m still learning the difference. We looked at each other and my only thought was “aw, a birdie” and I went back to typing away on my keyboard. It was probably a good 30 seconds before it clicked that birds don’t live in my house. This isn’t Home Depot or some other big warehouse where birds can come and go, this was my very residential house and this little guy had clearly lost his way. As soon as this realization clicked in my head, my dogs caught wind of the situation. These two paperweights took off after the bird and my cat figured it would be fun to get in on the action. I’m chasing the dogs who are chasing the cat who is chasing the bird who is now frantically trying to find an escape. All we needed was an old lady who swallowed a fly. I’m fu-reaking out because you spend your entire life not planning to ever have to catch a bird and suddenly it was very apparent I was woefully unprepared for this scenario.
The poor bird is alternating with flying into windows and pausing to catch his breath in a hanging plant. My animals are losing their minds and I’m trying to regain control of anything as I run around grasping at the air. In that moment, I thought calling my husband at work, interrupting his meeting, screaming into the phone “bird! in the house! help! come!” telling him in panicked incomplete sentences he needs to drive the 45 minutes home seemed totally logical, like he may have secret bird wrangling experience I didn’t know about. Eventually our bird friend got himself cornered in our kitchen garden window. I’m frantically wracking my brain for something I could put over him – this is the one thing about purging many of your belongings, that one thing you never thought you could ever possibly need again would suddenly come in handy the time a wild bird makes his way into your home if only you didn’t pass it on to Goodwill. By sheer good fortune in timing, I had my mother-in-laws Tupperware container set aside to return to her, which is the only time Tupperware is in my house. He was caught up in our garden window grate, and probably exhausted, so I was able to gently lower it over him and slide the cardboard backing off of a notebook underneath. I carried him off outside and he flew to freedom. I must admit, I was hoping he would choose to stay but can’t say I blame him.
Soon following this incident, I was at my parent’s house where a bird was just sitting on their front step. I wasn’t sure if he was feeling okay so I slowly approached and picked him up, planning on moving him to safety if needed. We just kind of hung out for several minutes looking each other over before he flew off. Since I opened up myself to the joy of the once overlooked birds around me, I feel they are making their presence known now more than ever and I’m doing all I can to make myself more open to these once in a lifetime encounters with our animal kingdom relatives.
I’ve been spending some time reading about the different seeds that attract different birds and making sure our feeders are always well stocked. It is fun experimenting and seeing who makes a visit when you put out a new seed. We’ve had plenty of male and female cardinals, red-winged black birds, yesterday morning a beautiful woodpecker stopped by and today a gorgeous, I’m guessing, male purple finch. If you’re familiar with birds than you know it’s always the males that have all the pizzazz. We always have the little brown birds that I’m still not sure are wrens or finches, maybe both so when someone with a lot of color and flare shows up, it’s a very special day. We have a few stunning birds I haven’t been able to identify eating the berries off of our bush in the front so I’m looking forward to new friends as the season changes. I can’t wait for my retirement on a park bench surrounded by birds.