Bird brained stories!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

Winter finally arrived with a vengeance here in coulee country, but it will be short-lived. It always is. For that reason, I leave my cross country skis in my car, ready to go out whenever I have the chance, and wherever I might be. I have learned that because winter is fickle and fleeting here, if I want to ski, I might not have time to get to the "good" ski trails before it's gone. The other day, I headed out to one of our large county parks that sits right along the Mississippi River to do a little skiing, and maybe spot some Long-Eared Owls seen earlier that week. No luck on the owls. The skiing was marginal at best, but even so, I couldn't think of anything I'd rather be doing. The day was already perfect enough for me, having seen numerous woodpeckers in the woods trail, even heard a calling Barred Owl and of course visited the resident deer that have no fear of humans. Could the day get any better?

After I'd finished skiing, I decided to look in a couple more likely places for those owls. Walking down the road, I was startled by the very close approach of the Black-Capped Chickadees and White-Breasted Nuthatches. The chickadees were so close that four of them perched on a branch just feet from my face and chattered at me. I wouldn't have needed my big lens to capture them. What happened next is nothing short of magical. As I stood watching around 25 of these little gems flitting nearby, I held out my hand. A chickadee landed on my fingertips, looking at me before flying off. Then another! And another! They swirled around me, near my head, on my hands, at my feet! I know for some readers, this conjures up images a la Hitchcock, but I didn't see it that way.

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Armed with birdseed, I found joy in the approach of these small and delicate creatures. They never stayed long. They never do, even at feeders out of view of humans. To have them trust me enough to approach, perch, look me in the eye, then snatch a seed and take off was an experience I've long wished to have. The flutter of their wings sounded next to my head. I could feel the little breeze that action created. I enjoyed one of those rare moments when wildness and human connect. These moments always feed my soul and ease my heartache. I don't have to have physical contact; simply being there is enough. I worry that future generations will never have this joy, taking their joy in malls and man-made interpretations of nature. If only folks would stop worrying about spiders and snakes, instead going out to meet our wild neighbors, perhaps they would begin to see that healing can be found out in nature instead of a shopping bag.

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  • Oh, how magical, Gwyn! Lucky you to have found this trusting group of chickadees! Lucky them to find such a bird lover!

    By Blogger Amy, at 7:23 PM  

  • Gwyn,
    That is altogether too cool!!!

    I'm so happy that you had such a magical experience AND caught those wonderful photos.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:25 PM  

  • that beaming face says is ALL.. a most precious moment. One of the most poignant posts I've read in awhile because you put my own thoughts into words so perfectly. Thanks for sharing this, I needed the smiles my friend. And it's good to see YOU smiling as well.
    Here's to more precious moments that fill our hearts.. and souls.
    I've missed you :)

    (now go buy some white craft feathers.. lol!) ;)

    By Anonymous Cindy, at 9:06 PM  

  • wow gwyn! so so neat! :D

    By Blogger Doris, at 10:43 PM  

  • What a great experience! I also enjoyed the message you included. It reminds me of a quote that I occasionally use, although I don't know the author - "The mountains will always be there, the trick is for you to be there as well."

    By Blogger wolf21m, at 7:44 AM  

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