Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is for the Birds!

Literally, that is, and one of the things I especially love and celebrate about spring is welcoming back our fine-feathered friends. 

First, though, let me welcome everyone visiting from Kathy's wonderful blog, A Delightsome Life, for her Celebrate Spring with Victoria blog party.  Hello and welcome!

Something we all should aspire to, wouldn't you agree?!
(You can click on any photo to zoom in for a good look.)
We don't have a huge variety of birds in the rural area where I live, but what we do have is very enjoyable.  Canadian geese fly over by the hundreds, maybe thousands, as they migrate with the seasons, and I always say a prayer for "travel mercies" for the dear creatures. 

The pencil drawing is my attempt to sketch the bird on the cover (upper left).

Victoria - March 1992
Seems like we saw our first robin early this year ... on Valentine's Day.  Our sparrows and cardinals are always with us, then come the house finches and mourning doves.  The starlings are here, the grackles will arrive in droves, and coming soon will be the blue jays, flickers, and Baltimore orioles.  We also get to enjoy the magnificence of Mississippi kites and turkey vultures.  Once in a while a hawk will stray into town from the country.

Bird Postcards and Prints
I like this time of year when the birds are here, yet there are still no leaves on the trees, making it so much easier to birdwatch.  And isn't it so pleasant to wake up to the sound of birds chirping and singing?!

I've been blessed to have house finches build their nests under the roof of my front porch for many years.  There are usually two nests every year.  The first is built in March, and the second in June.  (They are extremely clean birdies and never leave a mess on my porch deck!)  There are almost always three or four babies each time, so I have been the honored godmother to a slew of newborn house finches!  A few days after the eggs are hatched, I begin to see wide open little beaks bobbing around at the top of the nest.  Some of the daddies are very helpful to the mamas, feeding both mama and the little ones, and some seem to make themselves fairly scarce.  It takes all kinds, I guess, even in nature. 

By the time I can see them really well, it is about time for the babies to test their wings and fly away.  The parents stay in nearby trees and call and call and call.  It is still such a thrill to watch a baby house finch stand on the top edge of the nest and ponder the situation ... sometimes for hours.  If my timing is spot on, I'm privileged to watch the fledgling leave the nest.  This year mama and papa house finch began building their nest on March 18 ... right on schedule.

The bottom photo is last year's nest,
middle left it's all cleaned out and waiting for this year's finches,
top and center is the new nest in progress and Mama Finch.
If you would like to learn more about birds, check out Cornell University's All About Birds.  There you will find wonderful photos, range information, and audios of bird calls and songs.  Another great source on birds is Birds and Blooms magazine.

My father made the birdhouse and it was painted by my mother.
She also prepared and painted the two large ceramic geese.
(The kitties beg you to forgive them
for any tatters in the curtains you might see!)
When I was in my very early teens, I found an injured bird ... a damaged leg, I think.  I can't remember, but I think it may have been a robin.  I fixed a shoebox for it, gently placed the bird in the box, then left the bird alone, because I knew that was what one was supposed to do.  Later, when I returned to check on it, the poor thing had already died, very probably of shock, but perhaps it had internal injuries.

And I've sometimes wondered since then if my going against traditional wisdom would have been better for the little bird.  If a little companionship; a few soothing whispers; a gentle, melodious song; perhaps even an occasional caressing stroke- would have been at least comforting, if not lifesaving.  (Has anybody tested that approach?  Indoor birds enjoy small talk, singing, piano ... but I suppose they have become acclimated to people by the time they are purchased.)

Willow Tree's "Angel of Learning"
At any rate, I'm ever so grateful that God doesn't leave us alone to mend ourselves.  Whatever we go through, He is there with us in the midst of it all.

Alas, there are no hummingbirds where I live,
or bluebirds, or chickadees, or ...
Just as the birds do, I hope you'll come visit me again as well!

Those who hope in the Lord
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

With a hello and loving thoughts going out to all of my family, I am:

Thankful for God's sweet gift of birds ...
and for each one of you, Dear Readers,

I'm linking this post to:
Kathy's Celebrate Spring blog party
at A Delightsome Life
and to
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show off Your Cottage Monday
Thank you, Ladies, for your gracious hospitality!