Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thankful for birds.

The birds are almost gone.

(For winter; they will come back!)

Have I described my bedroom window?  It is large, east facing, and has a half-circle top that, even after living here a year, we still have not covered in any way.  Below the half-circle, the rectangular part of the window has an off-white sheer and off-white shades which we rarely open.  The upshot: my view out this window angles sharply upward, and most of what I see is the sky, the topmost tips of my maple tree, and sometimes birds.

I often find myself stopping and staring out this window, the top of this window.  Last year it was always bright blue and brilliant, but this year I've seen more cloud cover, gray and white.  About a week ago, we had a luminous full moon that shed pearly light across our bedroom through every hour of the night.

Yes, and I see birds, frolicking across the expanse of this half circle that is my view of the world from my bedroom.  In the morning, they seem flap-dashingly happy, whirling randomly above the treetops.

As I walk the dogs these brown November days, sometimes I see a spiral of motion high in the sky over my head, and look up, looking for birds.  Often it is a leaf, plucked from a soaring branch by a strong wind that continues to toss it aloft in fluttery flight, mimicking a bird, animation granted to something brittle, dry and brown.  Grace.

The birds in my half-circle window came in flocks before they began to disappear.   South, it must be.  Who wouldn't want to head south right now?

In their glory, the birds were delightful.  We have bird-feeders outside our sun porch; mid-summer, we sat on the sun porch and watched them.  Are we birdwatchers?  I guess we're old now!

From sparrows and robins to cheery goldfinches, vivid cardinals and the occasional opulent bluebird, they feasted at the feeders in the unwalled aviary that is our backyard.  One goldfinch always perched upside down as he pecked away, gleaning seeds through small holes in the plastic, silly little yellow fellow.

Of course, there are other birds around as well: eagles and falcons, turkey buzzards and geese, hummingbirds and even the occasional swan.

Once I was walking the dogs 'round the lake, and we came upon the little path that leads to the southern tip, where the lake sometimes overflows down into the Sangamon river.  Along the shore there, a cluster of wild bushes grows near a bench placed ostensibly for contemplation.  As I passed the bushes, something rustled loudly, and adrenaline surged in my throat.  Was someone hiding in the bushes, waiting to leap out and grab me?   The noise erupted in a sudden burst, and I screamed.  My wits returned barely in time for me to recognize that it was a giant blue heron, soaring across the lake.

Blue herons thrill me.  They are my favorite.  I'm not good at photographing them, though.

Here's one I tried to capture as I was walking in a neighborhood in the city.  Can you see it?

Oh, and there was also the time we were vacationing on Sunset Beach.  I walked all the way to Bird Island and sat down on a bench to rest a spell.  As I sat there, a flock of pelicans flew right over my head, low, wings beating loud, carrying my breath away.  I could not believe it.  I still can't believe it.  Pelicans thrill me as much as blue herons.  Once Shannon, David and I spent an entire morning in Florida watching pelicans dive for fish in the ocean, spellbound.

I am thankful for birds. 


Shannon said...

ah! that heron is so big! I know the picture is kind of grainy but I love it.

ruth said...

Herons are huge.

I wonder how they compare to turkeys?