While I cleaned up the porch and yard last weekend after a week away I took notice of a number of things. One, the huge thistle that sprung up in a flowerbed where I had a bird feeder (not a good idea). I missed it when I cleared out its brothers, and ignored for a few weeks it grew. And grew. So now it is so big that my shooty friend, scientist RobD, who climbs large pointy mountains like K2 without fear, took one look at its spines and offered to bring over the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, some WD40 and a BIC lighter to help slay it.
I also noticed the number of birdhouses that seem to have sprung up around the range. As well as the number of birds.. There's this number - purchased pre-made, then hand stenciled, to be occupied by a couple of sparrows.
Then there is the Habitat for Humanity birdhouse which was made by hand. Not luxurious perhaps, but out closer to the woods, providing a well built, albeit plain, home for someone that needs it.
But no matter what you provide, there are those that just loiter. Just hanging around the front porch to see who might give them a handout, or a vacant pond of water.
Of course, there are the squatters. There in my Southern Living planter on the front porch. (she hatched two eggs a few weeks ago). It's bird central around here now.
But like my friends, those freshly hatched or battle scarred, residing in new houses or just scraping by where it's warm, I look at what is central to them. Not the outward feathers, squawks or trappings, but what it is that drives them home, what it is that makes them unique, there beneath the sharp beak and defensive colorings. What makes them part of my daily life.
Birds fill my horizon, and surround my home Most of the birds I can recognize, sparrows, my favorite the Cardinal and the occasional dove. Birds vary in more ways than species and color. Study them long enough, and you'll see the different ways in which they eat, and what they won't eat. Look where they sleep, is it high up in a tree, or snuggled down in low covering, with the small tender plants pulled in around them like a blanket. You can study them by when they eat the most, a hearty breakfast or a quick bit of avian fast food and a late day buffet in a field. So many ways, the shape and size of the nest, if there is one, their connection to the nearest body of water, or a broad patch of open sky, if there is one, and to what degree that nearness is necessary for survival. To some the nearness is more important than we realize. Yet in all their differences they all fly on the same winds, that takes them to their desires. As do we all.