Thursday, 27 May 2010

Feathers in the sun

Laid low for a fortnight with a virus (on top of my usual M.E. variety of viral symptoms-greedy!), I'm so grateful to God for the silver lining he provides if we look at every cloud with him! Being so ill, I've had lots of opportunity to micro-watch at close quarters the spring unfolding and bursting into new life all around.

 The trees are fat with blossoms and leaves are now a million shades of green. The young birds are all beginning to venture out of the snug shelter of the their nests to explore the big beautiful world and to learn how to fend for themselves. My photo above shows a young female blackbird, nicknamed Baggy, to identify her, as she's the chick of Ben (not Bill, geddit?) and Aggie (my most aggressive female visitor). Baggy takes after her mum in looks and temperament. This morning they had quite a fight, trying to define where they fit in the bigger picture! Here, in a calmer moment, Baggy is learning how refreshing an apple quarter can be in the hot May sunshine! 

Nearby, baby starlings were still trying to convince their parents they needed to be fed. One Starling youngster spent all morning screeching petulantly with open beak to get its parent to do the honours. When all the adults got wise and flew off, he slowly tried a few tentative pecks at the scattered suet, grain and dried mealworms on offer, and found he could actually survive now on his own. Magical moments in God's plan! Once he'd also worked out that there was more dignity in landing on the clothes post than tightroping along the washing line, there was no stopping him.

When the sun was at its hottest a few days ago, several of the blackbirds indulged in that peculiar pursuit, "sunning", where the bird, usually so alert, switches off to everything but the luxury of "sitting down" in a sunny spot, staring at the sun blissfully blankly, beak open, wings and tail feathers spread. Science tells us this is probably to stimulate the preen glad at the base of the tail, which makes sense, as the bird eventually goes on to preen itself after sunning. During the sunbathing, the blackbirds seemed in a total trance, and hardly stirred at human approach, transfixed by the still small inner voice, instinctively obedient to their own deepest needs and necessities for the life for which they were graciously created.

 We have so much to learn, and so much to delight in on the way! Enjoy this precious planet and God bless you as you hold its fragile magnificence close to your heart!

1 comment:

  1. The bonuses of literally not being able to 'do' and rediscovering that we really are human 'beings' and not human 'doings'. I love your observations. They thrill my heart, as much as they do yours.

    I remember the first time I saw a blackbird sunning and how alarmed I was! Definitely thought it was injured. They look incredibly daft!

    My Mrs Squirrel still comes to the bird table daily. I was talking to her through the glass window (as you do) and telling her how welcome she was in our garden and that it was fine for her to eat the nuts. The weird thing was she was looking directly at me, and each time I spoke (through the glass remember so hardly loud) her little ears inclined towards me. I'm sure the spirit of God was telling her she was in a friendly neighbourhood and that somehow she understood she was very very welcome.

    No idea where Pumpkin and Pickle, her offspring are. They disappeared during our trip away. I gather the neighbour has had all 3 visit his feeding station though. So they are well, and like all good kids, have move out of home.