I have really loved getting into bird watching and feeding in the 14 years I’ve been at North Valley. I am so thankful for all the information taught to me about songbirds by my husband, Lee, whose family always fed birds in their backyard in the great metropolis of Nye, WI.
My parents never fed birds when I was growing up so it was a new experience for me. However, we always had a parakeet in the house. We would let Peppy out of the cage so he could get some exercise, and he loved to take a bath under the kitchen faucet. He was quite affectionate. I guess that started my love affair with birds. I have the gift of whistling a couple different ways to mimic birds. I always loved to call to the bobwhite quail growing up in southern Indiana.
When I first got to North Valley and saw a gold finch, I was worried that it might have escaped from a cage somewhere! Then I saw trees full of these wonderful little birds once I got a feeder. What a surprise to see them lose their bright yellow color when winter comes…nature is astounding!
Rather I should say, God is astounding! In my heart, I just can’t believe that these creatures just evolved. They were created with such a vast array of colors and beautiful sounds! Here are some Bible passages I like about birds.
“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
“How lovely is your dwelling place,O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.”
We have seen 35-40 different types of back yard birds. We are so fortunate to have a brush line where birds seem to like. Whether winter, spring, summer, or fall, the birds are always around. We furnish nyjer, sunflower seed, nectar, oranges, and suet to our feathered friends. It is so beautiful to see the red of the male cardinal against the snow in winter or see the first hummingbird flit around in spring.
Every now and then we have a bird bump into our picture window. They are always fine, but it is so sweet to be able to pick them up and hold them in your palm to make sure they are OK.
It’s also amazing to me that bluebirds, bluejays, and indigo buntings aren’t really blue! William Orem who wrote on ‘A Moment of Science’ blog explains, “The blue on birds is not caused by pigment, but by the way light waves interact with the feather. Physicists call this “structural color.” Because of the layered structure of the feather, light waves entering it bounce back at different times and thus collide or “interfere” with each other. Certain wavelengths get cancelled while others get reinforced. The reinforced colors that come back strongly to your eye are in the blue range. The result is that eye catching display of blues.” Most of the colors in bird feathers we perceive as blue are black or white.
Is there any kind of songbird I don’t like? No! I like blue jays, cat birds, and all kinds of black birds. However, larger birds? Now, that's another story… for next time.
Blessings on your week!