Though neither ornithologist nor true bird watcher, living on the edge of woods at spring time has helped me understand the enthusiasm some have for this hobby. Especially while praying in the morning or enjoying a quiet Sabbath rest, the flights of a variety of birds through the forest make it – and one’s own heart it seems – pulsate with life.
We have watched several birds that we had never or rarely seen before. Identifying them has been fun and exciting. Finding out that the robin-sized bird scratching the leaves like a hen, its black upper body marked with white lines on its wings and whitish breast flanked with orange, was called an Eastern Towhee made us tee-hee. Seeing a Baltimore Oriole try to drink from the hummingbird feeder taught us they love fruit and nectar, so if you see us hanging some cut oranges in our trees it is not because we wished we lived in Florida. A bird I had only seen once or twice before, the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, appeared. With its bib of red on its chest, like a toddler in his high chair, he seems prepared for the messy eating he does. He could learn a few things from the Tufted Titmouse, who very politely takes just one seed at a time then flies off merrily to enjoy it on a nearby branch.
A number of the birds, though not seen often or regularly by us, are becoming more known. Wild turkeys showed up recently, the males spreading their tails like a fan and strutting their stuff to attract the nearby hens who, like their human counterparts, appear to pay no attention. The Pileated Woodpeckers continue to astound us with their ability to hammer into a tree and send chunks of wood flying like a lumberjack behind schedule. A Cedar Waxwing appeared just yesterday, his sleek mask, subdued crest, and subtle but beautifully blended colors for some reason reminding me of the restored hot rods you see at summer festivals.
After I have sat watching a while, the press of responsibilities and the day begin to make me feel guilty for this pleasure and start prompting me to rise. But then I remember that the Scriptures say there is one Bird Watcher who tends to their every need, not even letting the common sparrow fall to the ground without his notice (Matthew 6:26; 10:29). So I linger for a few more moments before I leave and smile, knowing that it is not only the birds He is watching over.