For the Birds

I love all four seasons, but this time of year has to be my favorite. I have all the windows open overnight so that I wake in the morning to the sound of the birds singing. Our current house is technically in the suburbs but it’s nestled in the woods on a narrow, lonely road. I’ve always said it’s the best of both worlds —five minutes from civilization but it feels like you’re in the country. The birdsong is deafening at sunrise. For me —not generally a morning person— it’s the only kind of wake up call I can tolerate.

I’ve drawn the birds to our yard with feeders —hummingbird feeders in the summer, thistle and black oil sunflower seed in the colder months. I have wild raspberry bushes growing along the perimeter of the woods which I’ve left uncultivated so the birds and deer can have the berries. I’ve enjoyed watching them discreetly from the windows and snapping photos with the zoom lens. Bright red cardinals against the blinding white of snow, goldfinches and purple finches competing for seeds, three kinds of woodpeckers mistaking the house siding for wood [and sounding like a machine gun at 5 AM!] bluebirds, and once an indigo bunting. It was a rare and unexpected treat to have a mass of starlings gather on the front lawn before rising as one in murmuration.

That’s just a sample of the varieties that populate my little patch of earth. With the melting of snow come the robins —those early harbingers of spring. But I always know the season is in full swing when the Baltimore Orioles arrive. Their distinct song is a two-toned warble and one of the most beautiful natural sounds on earth. Yesterday, I heard my oriole in the morning —summer is just around the corner.

I’m leaving behind my Audubon Society Guide to North American Birds. But I promise that the first book I buy in my new home will be a Guide to the Birds of Ireland. And a new feeder will go up in the garden at my little house in Headford.

Header image thanks to Hinterland