For The Birds
Our Bluebird house has seen better days. I think this spring we’re going to have to replace a few of them. I inherited my love of birds from my parents; both were avid birders. I remember watching my mother suit up and head out in the worst weather because several bird feeders needed to be refilled. I think of her now, when I’m doing my twice-daily feeder run. Dad wasn’t as diligent about filling feeders, but he kept the pressure on Mom. “Kay, the back feeders are gettin’ low! Better hustle!” Mom would shoot him a look, a cross between an eye roll and a death dagger, then trudge out and make her rounds. Then she’d come inside and listen to Dad’s commentary on what was visiting the yard. “Oh look, there’s a Junco! A couple of Chickadees have arrived! Mr Nuthatch is loving the suet! Those damn Bluejays, they’re threatening Mr & Mrs Cardinal! The Downy Woodpeckers are vying for the suet now! Dad would go on and on while Mom kept busy in the background. She loved watching the birds too, but her enthusiasm was a bit more reserved. Maybe because she knew the more the birds ate the more trips she’d have to make to fill the feeders?
Dad was truly enraptured by birds though, and he never missed an opportunity to point out an unusual or different species and comment on some aspect of their habits. He had a very good catalog of knowledge that he loved to share with anyone who would listen. Probably my last live conversation with my father took place at my kitchen table, where we sat talking about the various birds that were feeding at my feeder that morning. That type of exchange was such a common occurrence that I probably took the knowledge that my father passed down to me during those shared times for granted. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit my father’s vast knowledge of birds or his ability to know so many different kinds by sight as well as sound. Still, I never lost my sense of awe for birds. So while I may not be the greatest source of bird knowledge, I appreciate and enjoy watching and listening to our wonderful birds every day.