Those little nimble musicians of the air, that warble forth their curious ditties, with which nature hath furnished them to the shame of art.” – Izaak Walton
I was sitting out on our front porch Sunday morning…( enjoying wearing my lightweight jacket instead of three winter coats,) while completely enjoying the bright , warm sunshine and blue skies. ( Nature was surely teasing us, as today it is snowing…) 🙂 I was captivated by two red breasted robins that were joyously unrestrained in their boisterous merriment as they hopped from one branch to another…at first together, then their play became a game of “Tag” your it. I had not seen this pair of beautiful and alluring birds before in our yard and was surprised when I read that they are the first sign of Spring…
Sitting there, my hot cup of coffee in hand, flavored with Heath Bar creamer, (If you have never tried that one, it is a must,) 🙂 I felt as if “the great outdoors” was putting on an impressive and grandiose performance for me. A flock of snow geese gallantly cruised over our quieted neighborhood. (I think they are getting a little confused, as I, as to what season it truly is, 🙂 wondering WHEN it will be time for them to migrate for the spring… A brilliant and august blue jay perched upon the top of the telephone pole across the street, and when I closed my eyes, I heard a melodic chorus of all types of chirps, cooing songs, a few cries and whistles along with the lovely ‘honk song’ of the galvanic geese. Truly, it was beautiful music to my ears. I began to think about what a gift birds are to our lives… Not only do they put a song in our heart, bless us with their kaleidoscopic colors, and intriguing antics, but their music is more calming and enchanting to the soul, than any Orchestra’s symphony I have ever listened to…and its all free of admission! Every season, we are treated to an entirely new cast of superb actors and exquisite singers, entertaining us as well as inspiring our minds and hearts…
In my life, I have come to learn that EVERYTHING goes better with gratitude, 🙂 thus, at times, (I do a test,) and try to imagine something that I may (even without knowing it,) take for granted, to no longer exist in my life. Its then I feel its magnitude and worth, and my heart is overflowing with thankfulness for its resplendent bestowal. What if suddenly, our worlds were no longer graced with all the beautiful birds we see and hear in our everyday regimes? Life would seem so quiet, less cheerful and it certainly would not be as colorful. We would miss the birds in the early dawn, singing their familiar minstrelsy that help us get up and out of our warm, snugly beds. What would our camping trips up in the mountains be like without the enchanting ballads of the night birds, the mysterious “hooo hooo hooo” of the owl, the whimsical song of the whip-poor-will and the regal, black winged bats, (swooping down out of the trees,) that always make a campfire story a lot more suspenseful. 🙂
In this vignette, I hope to share just a handful of reasons why birds are such a captivating species, the gifts they so freely give to us and what I learned as I researched this glorious creature… I know there are thousands of books published that many of you already have read, so this is just a quick peek to stir up “your already inbred interest,” and spark the interest of those of you who have never really thought much about birds…Hopefully, in reading this blog, you will be as taken aback as I am, with these little (and big) guys! ENJOY!
First, a few splendid and notable quotes in appreciation of this eminently significant species..
Happier of happy though I be, like them I cannot take possession of the sky, mount with a thoughtless impulse, and wheel there, one of a mighty multitude whose way and motion is a harmony and dance magnificent.” ~ William Wordsworth
In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.” ~ Robert Lynd
“Have you ever observed a hummingbird moving about in an aerial dance among the flowers — a living prismatic gem … it is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness as to mock all description.” ~ W.H. Hudson
“The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life … The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds — how many human aspirations are realized in their free, holiday-lives — and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song!” ~ John Burroughs
“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.” ~ Victor Hugo
“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”~ James Allen
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
Why do birds sing in the morning? It’s the triumphant shout: “We got through another night!”~ Enid Bagnold
“Even when a bird walks, one feels it has wings.” ~ Antoine-Marin Lemierre
“What is more cheerful, now, in the fall of the year, than an open-wood-fire? Do you hear those little chirps and twitters coming out of that piece of apple-wood? Those are the ghosts of the robins and blue-birds that sang upon the bough when it was in blossom last Spring. In Summer whole flocks of them come fluttering about the fruit-trees under the window: so I have singing birds all the year round.” ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich
“The bird dares to break the shell, then the shell breaks open and the bird can fly openly. This is the simplest principle of success. You dream, you dare and and you fly.” ~ Israelmore Ayivor
“A flock of geese leave their lake and take wing, turning to poems in the sky.” ~Dr. Sun Wolf
“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” ~Chinese Proverb
“When thou seeist an eagle, thou seest a portion of Genius; lift they head!” ~ William Blake (King James version of language.)
After seeing the birds of the hinterlands in Angola, it inspired me to ask Kit ‘if we could make visiting this exotic area of the world, one of the things we do on our Bucket list.’ 🙂 Truly, these little winged miracles are remarkably stunning!
The charming, yet subtle Brown Finch.
Brown Hooded King Fisher…A brawny, dapper little guy…Very colorful!
The vivacious, fanciful Southern Masked Weaver.
The greater Flamingos…How romantic!
The rugged and zealous Greater Adjutant.
The cavalier and pensive Short Toed Snake Eagle.
Suave and gracious Greater striped swallows.
An inspiration for our beloved movie, ” Happy Feet.” The Winsome and austere , Gentoo Penguin
The Gouldian Finch found in the Northern Australia woodlands. Amazing in color as well as symbolic of the awesome and majestic rainbow.
The virile and strong Tawny eagle.
The aristocratic and phenomenal Whooping Crane…
Here are a variety of baronial birds you don’t have to travel across the world to see… What a blessing, each of their unique beauty is.
The great white owl, also known as the Snowy Owl. ‘A face everyone can’t help but fall in love with!’ 🙂
The Turkey with it’s gobbling call…Benjamen Franklln’s choice for the national bird of the United states, as to the Bald Eagle. .
The delicate, stirring yellow finch.
The sweet, magical and romantic hummingbird.
The gallant and intense, rousing Rooster… The French have claimed him as their (Unofficial) national bird.
One of my favorites, the redbird or cardinal.
The innocent, symbolic and breathtaking white dove.
Everyone’s well know friend, the unpretentious, subtle and wise sparrow.
Another East Coast favorite of mine, the exemplary and gracious Blue Jay!
Our neighbors, the humorous , patient and suave snow geese. Delaware would not be the same without them! 🙂
Flocks of these gorgeous birds in action… The first time I saw a field of snow geese take off in the country side of Delaware, I was in awe…it looked like a grandiose white snow flurry!
Whether they made us laugh, amused us while we had the mumps and measles, taught us wondrous lessons of life, helped us fall asleep at night, were a great “babysitter ” for our moms so they could have a few moments to themselves, or inspired us to believe that fairy-tale’s, dreams and happy endings really can come true... The birds we grew up with were a blessing to us all in ample ways/
Daisy and Donald Duck filled our homes with many an antic and an abundance of color.
Daffy Duck and Baby Huey energized us and made us laugh.
Tweetie Bird and The ugly Duckling! (What wonderful lessons they taught us.) 🙂
OWL in Winnie the Pooh…Wisdom comes in all types of packages!
Louis the trumpeter in the Trumpet of the Swan and the ever popular Little Red Hen brought a dance to our step and a warm, cozy feeling deep within.
Brothers Grimm’s, The Golden Bird and the French fairytale, the Bluebird challenged our imaginations and shaped our dreams as we nodded off to slumber-land.
Chicken Little, “The sky is falling,” and Woody Woodpecker… smiles and laughs galore!
The Road Runner and Big Bird from Sesame Street….again many a life lesson and an abundances of humor.
“BOO BOO” in the renowned Mickey Mouse Club and the prestigious Mother Goose… Two familiar faces with stories to take us off into other lands… giving us the gift of “daydreaming” as we entertained the thoughts of all magical characters in their stories.
CAN YOU GIVE A BABY SHOWER FOR A BIRD? 🙂
One of the most cherished gifts these feathered marvels bestow upon us is sharing their “nesting and hatching stage.” … I can’t tell you how many times we have discovered a birds nest in some “hideaway” place in our yard, (the eves of the roof, our large maple tree, or the roof gutter, (when the rainy season is over.) Our first clue that newborns will be arriving soon, is when we see a wild bird frequenting one of these cozy places, at least 7-8 times a day… sure enough, when we peak into their gathered branches, twigs and leaves, we see perfectly formed eggs. We get so excited as we wait daily, asking one another; “Have they hatched yet?” Before we know it, we hear the babies crying as their mom leaves for her venture in “grocery shopping” to get them some food. (We know better than to go close to the nest… but we wait to begin seeing the little tikes begin to fly, or should I say ‘attempt to fly’. The entire process is miraculous to witness. We almost feel like we are ‘proud parents; with the mama bird as we have watched her new family come into this world and leave home in a very short time. (And tell me, what is cuter than a nest full of adorable baby birds?)
LEGENDS, MYTHS AND BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS OF THIS WINGED SENSATION…
Myth: It is believed that if your hen takes to crowing, it is a herald of a death in the owners family.
Myth: If a wild bird fly’s into your home, it is a warning, presaging a death.
Myth:. If a bird enters your home and begins to fly around in circles and goes back outside, or if a bird hits your glass window, this also is a presage to a death.
Birds and what they symbolize to certain cultures:
The beautiful white dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit to the Christian faith.
In the Western world, white doves are released at wedding ceremonies as a symbol of a couples endearing love…
In South East Asia, Cranes are believed to carry off the souls of the dead to heaven.
In the European culture, White storks are known to bring Spring…(Kind of like America’s groundhog ,”Punxsutawnay Phil.”) We look to his “announcement of springs arrival” all depending upon if he sees his shadow or not. 🙂
Every March 19th, (Known as St. Josephs day,) the faithful swallows return to the Mission San Juan Capistrano in Southern Californian. Festivity and gladness fills the air with visitors arriving from all over the country, as these little guys return and rebuild their mud nests that are adjoined to the ruins of this grey stone church. Its amazing and symbolizes a “Miracle” at this mission that St. Francis loved so much.
Legendary Fable : By Jewel Diamond Taylor.
A long time ago God had a great many burdens that He wished to have carried from one place to another on Earth. He asked the animals to lend a hand, but all of them had excuses for not helping: the elephant was too dignified; the lion, too proud; and so on… Finally the birds came to God and said, “If you will tie the burdens into small bundles, we’ll be glad to carry them for you. We are small, but we would like to help.”
So God fastened upon the back of each bird a small bundle, and they all set out walking across the plain to their destination. They sang as they went, not minding the weight of their burdens at all. Every day the burdens seemed lighter and lighter, until the loads seemed to be lifting the birds, instead of the birds carrying the burdens.
When they arrived at their destination, they discovered that when they removed their loads, there were beautiful wings in their place. Wings that enabled them to fly to the tree tops and soar through the sky, closer and closer to God.The burdens we carry for others, as well as ourselves, become wings of the spirit, lifting us to new places and bringing us closer and closer to God.
May you always Soar in spite of your Burdens!
IN THE BIBLE
1st Kings, 17: 4-6 Ravens were used to bring food to Elijah.
Genesis, 8~ The raven and the dove were sent out by Noah to determine whether the land had dried sufficiently after the great flood.
“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove, is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2:12
FAMOUS “REAL LIFE” BIRDS THAT HAVE MADE HISTORY
The African grey parrot ALEX who was studied by Dr. Irene Pepperberg, demonstrated that he had the ability to count, could reason on a basic level and use words creatively. His intelligence has been likened to that of the Ape and dolphin, as well as a 5 year old human being. Amazing! He is such a handsome , dapper bird…
Cheri Ami , (don’t you love that name?) was a British bread homing pigeon that in the autumn of 1918 delivered 12 messages for the United States Army during World War 1 and miraculously helped save the lost Battalion.
Bubi, an Eurasian Eagle-owl that lives in Helsinki, near the Olympic Stadium is known as a “good omen,” for Finland with their national football team. Whenever he appears at the game, they win… Beautiful bird!
How about the birds we all know that have made it to Hollywood? (Either by inspiring a movie to be made, playing a supporting actor/actress role or THE LEADING CHARACTER?)
MUMBLE in Happy Feet… His first movie was such a hit, they gave him a sequel ! I love him as little baby penguin…
An abundance of applause and cheer “for all the many diverse birds” that played in Home Alone 2 and The great outdoors…(I can only imagine how much fun those movies were to make! 🙂
We were in awe at the two great eagles in the great films, Narnia and The Lord of the Rings… ( I am thankful that eagles are not REALLY that immense.) 🙂
My heart fell in love with Soren in the great classic Guardians of Ga ‘Hoole. The animation in this film alone, was breathtaking…
The adorable Nigel the Pelican, in Finding Nemo with the bellicose seagulls in this colorful, entertaining film. (It truly is amazing how far animation has come…)
The very humorous chicken Pollito in the hilarious and posh movie, ‘In-despicable Me’ as well as the fetching, great owl, a trustworthy companion to Harry Potter in all of his fete’s.
The somewhat, snobbish seabird from the south of France, Silas, from Ice Age and the endearing, spirited Roberto in Rio 2.
How about the jovial, laid back crows in the classic movie Dumbo and the much “fawned after” Rocky in chicken run?
The mighty Sven in Happy feet two was exceedingly alluring as was the debonair, classy seagull, in the film Jonathon Livingston seagull.
Kaharr in the remarkable classic, Water ship down made us smile and the diverse and entertaining ‘pigeons’ in the movie Valiant were a hoot! 🙂
Zazu in the beloved Lion King and Scuttle in The Little Mermaid, brought us so much color, diversion and recreation…adding plenty of “winsomeness” to our lives.
The amazing “Paulie” and Polynesia in Dr. Doolittle. (Two very intelligent and striking parrots.)
Fifi, Rumpelstiltskin’s magical goose in Shrek Forever After and the gallant great eagle in The rescuers down under…Both beautifully animated, classy films.
What about the 24 hour consort tunes these beautiful creatures sing to us throughout our mornings, afternoons and into the late evenings under the stars? Each bird has its own unique song that brings our souls a joy and graces us with winsomeness, great bliss and exhilaration, truly enriching our lives daily.
My favorite tunes? The gentle, soothing cooing of the turtle dove, the classic call of the whip-poor-will, the magical tweets of the Kingfisher, the engaging whistle of the hummingbird, the familiar everyday chirp of the sparrow and the Bob White Quail who continuously, (but very creatively ) calls out his own name, ( bestowing upon me many a nostalgic memory of my years in South Carolina.) I love to hear (the sometimes annoying yet comforting at the same time,) squawk of the parrot, or honk of the geese, the “ah, ah , ah of the woodpecker, the crow of a raven…(a little on the scary side,) but he has such a history of being ‘the bad guy,’ we have to give him a break. 🙂 Lastly, the chorus of the dawn…I am not sure exactly who is singing what, I just know that it helps get me out of bed to start my day more than any alarm clock I’ve owned. 🙂
Bird stories that will make you smile…
In reading an article by Mark Cocker in the Guardian, there were two stories he shared on his travels that took me aback as I hear stories all the time about birds helping people to get through difficult times….Do you ever wonder how they know we are troubled? What moves them to bring us comfort, amazement and wonder?
One of his stories was about a mother who had lost her daughter in a car accident. Weeks after the funeral, “something” told her to go to the french windows at the other side of the house and there, sitting on the patio, was a beautiful, blue kingfisher. She picked the winged miracle up and was able to pet the bird for a short while before it flew off. That moment of kinship and revelry with this amazing beautiful blue bird was, its author confessed, “a mystifying solace to me over the years”.”
Another story shared was about a recently bereaved widow, who in her grief, began taking walks on the sandy beaches along the shore of the soothing, quieted ocean. She was taken aback with the sight of the intense, pensive shorebirds known as oystercatchers, standing at the crest of the oceans tides… She recounted how, “one day as I approached they started to hop away; I’d never seen them hopping before! Well over a hundred oystercatchers hopping towards the sea; it was hilarious.” ( The stout legged Oystercatchers stand on one leg to keep their bodies warmer in the colder temperatures. . ) The birds became a source of comfort, and a motif of the reassertion of joy in her life.”
A FEW REAL LIFE BIRD STORIES from people I know…
One of my best friends of 37 years, Margo, came to visit Kit and I from Sunny California. I had so much fun introducing her to my new friends in Delaware at a ladies afternoon Tea….she fit right in, (as I knew she would.) 🙂 We all enjoyed a lovely array of savory, ambrosial, home cooked cuisine, sweet indulgences, delicious teas, a warm fire in the hearth and made wonderful new memories on this pampering ladies day out together. As we were getting ready to leave, a red cardinal lit upon a branch on the tree in front of our hostess’ home. Margo’s eyes welled up as she had prayed and said to the Lord that the one thing she wanted to see on her ‘east coast visit’ was a cardinal…her favorite bird… Her heart was so touched… she could not take her eyes off the bird…(You see, I was so use to seeing these magnificently gorgeous birds in all my years here, I forgot it was a rare sight for someone who lived across the country. ) I never took this gracious, austere bird for granted again and was so happy my dear lifelong friend had her wish come true…
I don’t really know how to share about my little guy that I had for many years…except to say…there are two kinds of budgie parakeets in this world. The one that sits in the cage, sings an occasional tweet, enjoys biting you, every time you try to get him to perch on your finger, and eventually becomes a pain, as you never feel a love-connection…its almost as if they have become a decorative item, (with a lot of clean up and maintenance,) than a cherished pet. 🙂 That ones name was Romeo. Now the second kind of parakeet was Beamer… (Why did we name him Beamer?) Short story…when Kit and I were dating , my brother had given me his BMW…the most beautiful car I had ever had. (WE called it The Beamer.) I ended up totaling the car 3 months before Kit and I got married….it broke my heart as I knew I’d never have that car again. Thus, when we bought our new bird, we decided to name it Beamer, to let the legend live on. Anyhow…this parakeet was one in a trillion… He fell in love with us immediately. The beautiful cage we bought him was his second home as he preferred to be with us whenever he could…he’d perch on the curtain rod, and every time we’d call to him, he’d fly to our shoulder…jaunt down our arm and back up again, give us a ton of kisses…and my favorite …when I’d do the dishes in the kitchen sink, he’d be on my shoulder, walk down to my hand, put his head under the water and then shake his whole body as if he were taking a shower. He’d bob his head up and down, sing, run back up to give me lots of kisses on my face and then get all comfy on my shoulder again…(where he’d stay for hours.) He brought so much joy to our life for years…He was a huge comfort to my heart as I left my family behind in California and moved to Arizona. His love was such a diversion and solace to the emotional pain I felt with missing my family and friends so much. His songs were amazingly beautiful and his spirit so pure… When he died , (and I was crying out to Kit,) he came running down the stairs frantically asking me “Honey, did someone in the family die?” Though very saddened it was Beamer, he was glad it was not one of our siblings or a parent. It was a great loss for me as well as our household. ..( You know women get more emotional than guys over these things…) The next parakeet I bought, was Romeo’s evil twin…so I gave up and switched to dogs! 🙂
An unexpected joy during a difficult time.
A dear friend of mine was going through a rough season in his life and discovered such joy and comfort in the new feathered guest that were frequenting his beautiful garden with its enchanting trellis, outside his kitchen doors…Not only did the array of such diverse birds bring life, an abundance of bright color, but as he watched them and studied how intricately they were all made, their sundry movements and alluring antics, he began to have more fun learning about all of his new guests. Each winged marvel brought a unique song and it was fascinating to watch the interactions of all the winsome birds as they flew in and out of the garden, morning, noon and night. They quickly became daily house-callers, with their familiar faces as they dropped by his magical and beckoning ‘outside amphitheater’ of nature. He had found a great joy in the midst of his new company, so much so, that he decided he too would collect birds this year for his home…bring a little bit of that mirth inside. Birds will do that you know.? 🙂
An unforeseen and surprising consolation.
My dear friend Lisa’s parents, who often visited her from their home in Maine, had a stunning Macaw Parrot for a pet…His name was Rocky. (Very Befitting.) When they came for a short stay, I’d go over to her house to say hello and there he was, demanding to be the center of attention (almost as big as his cage, as he was quite a galactic bird.) Rocky’s vocabulary of words and phrases were so immense that he was like a walking poetry book! He loved to eat peanuts, seeds and fruit, as well as just “hang out” with everyone..interrupting our every conversation, (but no one minded, as he was eminently lovable. ) 🙂 I could definitely see how one could get use to this big guy always being around. Lisa’s parents passed away within a short time of one another and Rocky came to live with her. Little did she know that this bird, (having learned such an abundance of words and ‘ endearing phrases’ from her parents) kept their spirits and memory alive by repeatedly saying the things they had taught him. He brought her so many smiles, laughter and brought back many a cherished memory of her mom and dad. Who would have thought that Rocky would end up being a hand delivered, winged comfort to Lisa’s heart as she missed her parents so deeply?
YES, God truly cares for every bird of the air…
While in my early twenties, I was living in California and was on my way into a Ralph’s Supermarket to get a few groceries. As I was walking under the eve of the markets roof, a beautiful, small in stature sparrow fell to the ground and landed right at my feet…he couldn’t move and was laying on his side…I couldn’t be sure, but he looked like he was a baby bird. My heart was very moved for this little guy…I felt in my spirit to pray for this little guy… I didn’t want him to suffer so I prayed for God to touch and heal him or to just take him home. A few people stopped as I was standing there, all feeling a sadness, yet not really knowing what to do. As people came and went, I still stood there and then, to my amazement, this little guy got up and flew away. I felt a soothing peace inside, not only that he lived and was healed but that God truly does care for every bird he has created, no matter their size or worth in our eyes. Whether it is a grand, stoic Bald Eagle, or a tiny sparrow, they are all the same to Him. After that day, I began observing birds a lot more and God has used them many a time in my life to teach me about the simplest truths.
In closing, I have to add at least one more thing that these winged miracles bring to our lives…this time, on the inside of our homes. Their rainbow colors and buoyant personalities are quite the muse for embellishing our homes with warmth, cheer and an ambrosial ambiance.
Whether through a beautiful panting or lifelike prints, their resplendent character blesses our homes with vibrant color and a quiet calm.
Our couches and over sized chairs would not be the same without their adoring faces bedecking our favorite rooms.
This year, my new collection for our home is birds. 🙂 My husband bought me the most beautiful bluebirds for Christmas.. (One of my favorite gifts!) Birds also inspires many types of decor through decorative birdcages… (Whether you own a bird or not.)
They are a great “wonder” to get our creative juices flowing, as we try to capture their beauty and bring a little bit of its glory to the inside of our births.
They’re an inspiration for us to bedeck our windows,verandahs and porches, turning them into flourishing gardens. (Hoping they will grace us with a daily visit or two.) 🙂
They inspire us to bring more color into our homes… a gorgeous medley of the hues found in the bucolic countryside
What would our kitchens be like without the French’s national bird, The grandeur and stellar Rooster?
Roosters are such a classy and regal bird!
Birds inspire us to create our bedrooms with joy, simplicity, and the rich alluring, tones of nature.
Two of my favorite things in my home…my new (not quite “your typical looking Rooster’) cookie jar and my red bird dinner pates…
Whether a French linen table cloth or lovely dinner ware, birds are a blithesome motif for our dining rooms!
The beautiful colors of nature, highlighted with captivating, engaging and elfin little guys…
Not only do these coffee table books bring an abundance of color and striking decor to your home, but these are books that your guests really will pick up and browse through…how can they not, they are so beautiful?
Whether a quick note to a dear friend or a new Christmas Ornament for your tree… the bird motif is exceedingly charming, enchanting and blesses our hearts with an abundance of mirth.
I am looking forward to learning more about these winged miracles. I hope that perhaps this vignette has sparked a little interest for you, or if you are already a bird-lover, touched a place in your heart that was already there.
PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.