Posts Tagged ‘cardinals’

birds on a line

September 21, 2010

It’s that time of year when the birds begin lining up on the power lines. It’s as if they are getting ready for their trip south; hanging out with friends, talking about the days to come. Kinda like old guys in small towns sitting together down at the corner coffee shop.

“Been farmin long?”

I imagine the birds chatting as they perch, “Hey, Harry, what route are you and the gang taking this year? Same as last year?”

I always enjoy seeing them perched on the lines, yet it’s with sweet melancholy, because I know that this lining up on the lines is a portent. Winter is on its way.

This morning I heard the honking of geese overhead – out of sight – but I knew what they were up to. I always hate to be left behind, especially when I’m left where it’ll be cold and snowy and those departing will be enjoying the sunny warmth while I shiver! It’s never any fun being left out of the fun! (or the sun!)

As I write, a male cardinal is feeding his youngster. The little bird is perched on a branch above our feeders. He frantically squeak-chirps; his whole body wriggles with desire while his dad drops down to the feeder-box and breaks open a few safflower seeds. Then up he goes, perching on the branch in front of his eager baby-all-a-flutter and places the food in the little guy’s beak. Such a precious sight, a father’s provision. Back and forth, chirps and flutters. Don’t they know winter’s coming?

I think to myself, it’s a little late in the game to have offspring this young, and then I remember, they don’t have a long flight ahead of them. Cardinals don’t ditch us for warmer weather like so many other birds. This makes me happy. One of the most stunningly beautiful birds stays here during the most dreary months. Beauty in the midst of long dark days. Hope embodied in a red feathered form.

I notice that as the leaves of our little Service-berry tree are beginning to change, the feathers of the goldfinches are beginning to darken. Winter is around the bend; both the trees and the birds are preparing.

I always make it through every winter, somehow, and spring always comes again, for which I’m always exuberantly grateful. So,with that knowledge, I’ll enjoy sighting the birds on the lines as they join ranks for their trip to warmer climes. I forgive them for leaving me behind! Besides, just seeing them makes me smile and brings delight to my heart. I know they’ll be back, just like Spring, and that’s good enough for me!


robins and cardinals

February 18, 2010

The robins are back!

My husband called me to come look out the window this morning. I went into the living room and looked out the window to see our crab-apple tree full of robins! They were feasting on the leftover dried fruit that still clung to the branches. They were enjoying eating as much as we were enjoying watching them! They visit the same tree when the fruit is growing and ripening; they build nests in the branches and push their little babies over the stick-edge to learn to ‘fly by the seat of their pants’.

Last spring I climbed a ladder, camera in hand to take some video of the babies in a nest in that tree. As my camera got a bit too close, all their scruffy little heads shot up simultaneously bobbing around on weak, scrawny necks as they frantically cried out for food. Too cute! (I’ll try to get it posted here soon.)

Cardinals, unlike the robins, don’t leave the cold climates during the winter, though why they don’t is a mystery to me! I’m tremendously thankful they stay. There’s nothing like their bright plumage to bring joy to my heart during the bleak and dreary winter months. I’ve noticed lately that the cardinals that live nearby have changed their conversations. In the winter they don’t sing, they just utter a short ‘pip’ kind of chirp. No matter what I’m doing, if I hear that little glorious sound, my head turns to locate that amazing creature. The other day it dawned on my that they’ve begun singing their sweet sounding songs again, and it delights my heart! Their music moves something deep within me. I can’t explain it, but it’s like a musical balm to my spirit.

Over the last several years I’ve become a bird appreciater; a bird watcher, though it happened gradually and quite by accident. Being home recuperating from many surgeries during my cancer process, I began to notice a varied array of birds that frequent our feeders. I’ve observed them for so long, now I even know what time of day I can expect each of them to come!

Whether it’s the cardinals or mourning doves, goldfinches or  woodpeckers, I’ve come to enjoy their company.

Seeing our tree full of robins this morning stirred renewed hope within me.  Their return signals the onset of spring! That long-awaited, much-anticipated new-beginnings time of year. Hope has flown back into town in the red breast of the robin. It is tangibly present. I can sense it in the atmosphere. I can feel it inside my being. Because of this and the cardinals’ songs, I can even persevere through whatever cold or snow old man winter may still have up his sleeve, because I know that spring cannot be held away much longer. The robins know it and the cardinals too!