Come, all ye birds, to my bird feeders! I’ve put out some black-oil sunflower seeds just for you. The kind I know you like.
Come, Cardinals, and delight me with your splash of brilliant red or (if you’re a lady) your subtle earth tones with just a peek of muted red around your wings. Come, you little black-capped Chickadees, you “darlings of the backyard feeder,” and steal a single seed and flit away to a nearby tree to eat it. Evidently you are too shy to stay and eat at my table, but you partake of my feast nonetheless.
Come, you Finches of all kinds–especially you bright Gold Finch. I’ve put out smaller seeds for you. Come, Tufted Titmouse or (if there’s more than one), Titmice! I’ve heard you are so bold you’ll pluck hairs from a sleeping cat or dog to use as a lining for your nest. Such courage demands hearty nourishment. Come, Woodpeckers wearing your stylish red, white, and black. I’ve put out some peanuts and suet for you. Come, even you lowly house Sparrows. Though you are a dime a dozen where I live, you are welcome too. Your commonplaceness and dull coloring don’t lessen my appreciation for you. Come, Blue Jay. Though you are rather large, you still partake in avian gracefulness. Though you seem crabby most days too, your blue hue has persuaded me to include you on my guest list. So you are welcome, but (if I might be so bold to say): please watch your table manners. And don’t chase away my other invited guests.
And you, my lovely orange and black Baltimore Orioles, I know sunflower seeds aren’t your thing. So I’ve put half an orange on the feeder just for you. Bird people tell me that this is your dining preference. And although I haven’t spotted you yet this year, I know you’re apt to show up as you did last year and the year before. I have a hunch you’ve already made reservations for a tree somewhere near my backyard in which to fashion your hanging nest.
And you, Ms. Chipmunk, what about you? Although you can’t reach my table (it’s not that you haven’t tried!), you are welcome to partake of the seeds that the birds, in their eagerness for my food, scatter on the ground below. I’ve seen you scooting away from my feeder, your tail straight up in the air, and your cheeks bulging with seed. I just want you to know, you are welcome. I’m a sucker for cuteness.
And Mr. Squirrel, I know you too lust after the seeds I’ve put out for the birds. And though not a bird, you are God’s creature too (as my mother used to say when your kin stole food from her feeder.) But sunflower seeds are expensive these days and I just can’t afford to welcome you officially to my feeder. That’s why if I see you hanging from my feeder (often in very imaginative and acrobatic ways), I’ll tap hard on the window and shoo you away. But I know (and you know) I can’t be watching every minute….
So welcome, birds. And chipmunks too. But I have to draw the line somewhere. And so I do—at squirrels and raccoons and deer. Your stomachs are just too demanding for my modest fare. But sometimes I do put out some grapes and apples that are a little too ripe for a human (that’s me) to eat. And I notice they always disappear. I’m assuming you’re enjoying them.
So, all ye Birds at my bird feeders, I’m happy you enjoy my feast. But I just want you to know, I enjoy my feast too, the feast of beholding all of you!
Do you have a bird feeder? If so, what do you enjoy most about having one?
Do birds nourish your spiritual life?