“Merlin in Piscataway Park” photo shared by MJ Garcia.
I began writing this post, hours ago, prepared with facts and statistics about the abundant species of birds found in North America, and then also about the specific species identified locally in our area. I wanted to include all of the data I’ve collected about the issues critical to the protection and survival of birds I found in order to share a brilliantly written, thought-provoking piece in honor of National Bird Day, which happens to be today! (Did you know that? There are so many “national” days in honor of something these days it’s really hard to keep up with them isn’t it?)
But in the end, I couldn’t do it. It was all rubbish. (The writing, not the facts.) It wasn’t from the heart, and felt forced.
So I’ve abandoned that plan and have decided instead to share my observations from glancing outside my office window looking out over the barnyard as the sun prepares to set on this day…
The northern cardinal was named for the red plummage of the male (pictured), which was said to look similar to a Catholic cardinal’s red vestments.
As I look out onto a peaceful scene painted in the muted colors of early winter–browns, grays, and beiges–with a group of robins scratching gingerly at the ground in search of their evening meal and a swarm of Canada geese plucking at what appears to be the last remnants of green in the barnyard, I am reminded of how often I am inspired by the changing scene this window out into the natural world provides me. Some days I am greeted in the early spring by a chipper and brightly colored bluebird perched on the limb hanging just outside the window. Other times I glance out and catch a pair of cardinals singing sweet nothings to each other (Yes, both male and female cardinals sing.) And occasionally I’ve spotted a red-bellied woodpecker or a flicker pecking away at that same tree.
No matter the season or the day, I seem to always notice our feathered friends of the avian variety. I am continually amazed each and every day at how the sight of them takes my breathe away, often stopping me in my tracks and causing me to look up; watching for what appears to be hours as they flit about, chirp merrily, or just perch above as if they are the ones watching me. In my observations, what I’ve noticed more about the birds outside my window is that each of them have their own personality.
The titmouse is small, yet brave… The cardinal is stately and serious… The nuthatch reminds me of a solider on a mission… The chickadee is curious and flighty… The bald eagle is majestic and fierce… The blue heron moves with a graceful elegance…
A simple bird feeder made using a mason jar and a chick feed base is a favorite attraction in my backyard.
Now that the sun has set and darkness has completely filled my window’s view, I will wrap this post up and leave you with this one final thought for today: What has inspired you today? What will inspire you tomorrow? I hope that you will take a moment to notice not only today, but every day, the birds that fly in and out of your life each day. Because it will be the passionate fire inside of you inspired by witnessing these beautiful creatures that will cause action to protect them. Not my words.
Learn more about the birds in your backyard. Participate in the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count, a four-day international bird count open to birders of all ages from around the world. (I’ll warn you, however, bird watching can be wildly addicting!) Hone your bird-watching skills by joining fellow enthusiasts on this upcoming free birding walk at Piscataway Park hosted by the local chapter of the Audubon Society.