Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I bought my son a birdfeeder for Christmas, because he's lately gotten interested in birdwatching and learning more about the natural world in general.

I hung the feeder outside the kitchen window of our second floor apartment about a month ago. No birds came. I put out some peanuts to entertain the squirrels and maybe attract birds. Peanuts disappeared. No birds.

Then yesterday, my son announced that birds were eating from the feeder, and ran to find his bird identification book. For an hour or so, the kids ate their peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches sitting at their little table, on the inside side of the window, and outside the window, the birds darted to the feeder to nip safflower seeds before fluttering back to the nearby tree branches to eat. Tufted titmouses. Redbreasted nuthatches. A downy woodpecker. A cardinal.

I had hoped, with the birdfeeder, to enlarge our sense of home, in some small way, to include a few feet of the great interconnected web of life outside, and to enlarge our sense of family to include some small, feathered, beaky folk.

But I had no idea how indescribably wonderful it would be to sit there watching those birds, and see them watching me.


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