Tuesday, 8 May 2007


We have a bird house hanging in the lofty cedar that basks in the sunshine, out the back door.

I really missed the parrots that flitted in and out of our yard in Australia. Their noise and colour, brought such life to our yard, and I used to encourage their return by hanging bird munchies in the Stringy Bark growing at the edge of the lawn. These munchies were bought from the store in a block, which was basically a make up of seeds, dried apple and syrupy water to hold it together - the birds loved them. Here though, the rats congregate if I put seed out and they are certainly NOT welcome.

Last year I placed the bird house in the tree and hoped it would become tenanted. I believe we were outside playing one late spring day, when a sparrow stumbled upon the bird house, inspected it inside and out, and called for an entire afternoon, to all the birds in the district, to let them know her intention of claiming this seemingly vacant abode, for herself. No one challenged her, so she made it her home.

In the summer, we started doing up our backyard, and perhaps it was the commotion coming from outside her front door, I am not really sure, but she up and left one day and never returned.

This year, as I undertook my morning ritual of gazing out the bathroom window after I shower, (I do this so I can feel the cool breeze on my hot face) I was delighted to see that the birdhouse was inhabited once more. This sparrow, lived in the house for some weeks before she determined to make a cozier nest, and I watched her one morning journeying to an fro with old twigs and brush, and forcing them through the tiny round opening at the front of her house.

Now I believe she has some chicks. From the open bathroom window, I can hear tiny peeps and the mother bird flits out in search of food and returns, perches on the edge of her house's opening; her head in and tail out, presumably feeding her young. One day I hope to bear witness to her brood taking flight.

This morning however, I observed mother bird preening herself on a thin branch nearby. She seemed relaxed and content while attending to her personal needs. Then she flew away.

Her activities lead me to ponder the themes of duty and purpose. I thought about birds and animals and wondered if they ever questioned their existence, or do they accept that this IS their purpose, and once their babies are grown and are strong enough to leave the nest...how did she feel? Was she relieved to be free of her children's demands? Was she sad that she was now alone in the world? Did she worry what would become of her many children? Did she ever long to see them again, and if she did, did they recognise her and greet her with affection? Or did she then become immediately concerned with preparations for surviving the coming winter, and come next spring, would she be filled with the insatiable desire to fulfil the destiny of mother to a brood of birds once more?

In that moment, I favoured the notion that this little sparrow knows and is quite certain of her purpose in the world, and I found myself envying her, just a little.


Tracey said...

I wonder that sort of thing about birds and animals too - only I could never put it into words as beautifully as you do!

Did you ever see that link that Jeanie had on her blog, about the two cockatoos? http://www.juliusbergh.com/cocky/Welcome.html

I love watching the lorikeets that come into our garden to feed on the grevillea flowers. They are often in pairs - and in fact quite some years ago when we found one injured in the backyard, WIRES (the wildlife rescue people) when they had nursed it back to health (turned out it was egg bound) released it back around here so that she would hopefully find her mate again. They apparently mate for life.

Elizabeth said...

There is nothing nicer than watching the birds gather the makings for their nests and then hunting in the trees and bushes for the nests.

I love watching the parent robins watching over their young as the learn to find their own dinner in my garden.

I have never really thought about how they might view the world. I just marvel that they manage and it works year after year.

Three cheers for Mother Nature