Julie Cameron, in her book The Right to Write, speaks of writing from joy. Writers, she says, are frequently stereotyped as writing from angst, anger, and indignation. And surely that is true of some writers, some of the time. But there is much joy to be had in writing from happiness.
Birds barely made the list on my happiness chart — until recently. All winter and even more so this spring, feathered friends have been a lovely source of inspiration and joy. Partially thanks to my other new happiness, a new kitchen. With our most recent renovation, the kitchen sink is in front of a window which offers a perfect view of the bird feeder hanging under the porch eaves. It’s all part and parcel of last fall’s renovation project. A project I am not taking for granted…yet. I still love using my new food prep place, new appliances, cupboards, and counter tops. And I adore having more windows. I’m going to appreciate the new windows with their fabulous views forever and ever, or at least until the project is paid off.
Birds flitting in and out of view, hang out on some of the slender bouncy branches of a nearby maple tree, waiting a turn at the feeder. Three kinds of woodpeckers visit regularly, downy, hairy, and red belly woodpeckers. The hairy is a larger version of the downy, but the red bellied is bigger yet. A red head and long bill are his most distinguished features. He’s quite the attractive fellow – debonair with a comical twist because he’s really far too large to be eating from a little decorative feeder intended for the likes of downys, finches, nuthatches, tufted titmice, and chickadees.
Silly is what he looks — hanging by his toes, big head and long slender bill stabbing at the tray of seeds while his tail feathers circle around and up the bottom side of the feeder. Unless another couple of small birds stand their ground opposite him as counter balance, the feeder lists nearly sideways. Then as soon as the big guy gets what he wants off he flies in a flurry, leaving the surprised counter-balance-birdies in a bit of an upset. Swoosh! Then there’s nothing to see but the feeder swaying madly from side to side.
Big birds like cardinals, blue jays, large woodpeckers, doves, red wing blackbirds,
and grackles usually stick to big feeding stations. We have a fairly large bird feeder further out in the yard as well as a finch feeder, each well stocked with sunflower, thistle, and songbird seeds. However, Mr. Bear paid a visit recently, and wouldn’t you know, he demolished our finch feeder and smashed the glass side of the large bird feeder, rendering both of them useless. Hence our large avian friends have overcome their fears and flown right up to the porch to fill their bellies. Mourning doves, cardinals, and blackbirds — looking completely out of place, flap and flutter trying to get a foothold on the tiny tray. Then they perch and peck seeds until some tiny, fragile finch comes and scares them away. Either that or a spectator like me happens to make a sudden move scaring all the flighty creatures away at once.
When that happens the fun is over for a bit, give or take 10 seconds. And then the birds begin jockeying for position once again. Somehow it never gets old. When dishes need to be done, it’s okay, there are birds to watch. Vegetables to peel, water glasses to fill, pots to scrub – no matter, there’s entertainment to be had, facts to learn and birds to be named.
So, here’s to brown sparrows, golden finches just now fully decked out in yellow feathers, purple finches sporting rose colored coats, an occasional gray titmouse with his little tuft on top, and black-capped chickadees. But darn those adorable woodpeckers, they have worn a perfect niche in the lilac bush where they work their seeds and have scraped the branches over pretty badly. They take turns giving over the coveted, albeit ravaged, spot to the next bird in line as they head back to the feeding station for another sunflower delicacy.
And farther out there in the yard where the snow has melted away is a red breasted robin. You’ll never see her on the bird feeder. She eats worms, silly, not seeds.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground
outside your Father’s care. Matthew 10:29
Image courtesy of Jeff Ratcliff at FreeDigitalPhotos.net