By Amy McCollom
When I have had enough negative news from the television or Facebook, I like to escape to my front porch and sip tea and consider the birds. My street is pretty quiet, and as long as I just melt into the background, all kinds of wildlife comes out of hiding. The various birds I hear calling back and forth is like a symphony written by angels. It’s quite magical.
There are whole communities of robins that hop like little bunnies all over the front yard. Where the big scraggly crooked pine tree used to stand last year, there is now a flat gray stump and a bricked off area for my gnomes, and I keep a hanging wire bird feeder thing there. After I watched the hopping little robins struggle repeatedly to reach the bottom of the feeder without success, I decided to bend the metal hook closer to the ground so that any small bird or critter can reach it. I watched a young squirrel make a break for it, then get chased back by a black bird three times in a row before he gave up and hid under a bush. I don’t mind feeding the squirrels too; I just don’t like them knocking my gnomes face down in the dirt.
I keep a canister in the house of what I call “bird crumbs.” It’s basically stale chips, crackers, cookies, raisins, dried cranberries, broken pasta, and an assortment of crumbs du jour. Not only do the outdoor birds and critters love it, but my indoor critters enjoy it as well. I have a pet gerbil, a small parrot, and a fancy pet white rat. It’s a treat for all of them, and it uses up something that ordinarily would have gone to waste. Around our house food is hardly ever wasted.
I can’t decide which local bird is my favorite. I like the color of Blue Jays, but they are not the friendliest of birds. Robins are nice common little birds. Hummingbirds are pretty fascinating, and they were my daddy’s favorite bird. If Flamingos were native to central Illinois, then I would pick them, because of my fondness for pink, but unfortunately they are not. If anyone knows of another pink bird native to central Illinois, let me know so I can add it to my top ten list of birds.
My daughter, Amanda, said her favorite bird is fried chicken. She is not an animal lover. But, God still performs miracles, so there could be a pet in her future yet. She told me not to hold my breath.
I do have a little pet bird named Blue. He is a parrotlet. Parrotlets are the smallest domesticated parrot in the parrot family. He is about the size of a young parakeet. He is several shades of blue. Parrotlets tend to be angry little birds with attitudes. But in his own way, he is endearing. He is smart and says some things if you listen closely. He makes all kinds of sounds like R2D2, mimics video games that the kids play, whistles, copies bird chirps, clicks, cheeps, and says “kissy, kissy.” He also will grab your soft fleshy finger with his sharp pointy beak if he feels like it and can draw blood if he gets a good enough hold of you. But also, Blue chirps and tweets for me to come and talk to him when he first hears my voice in the morning, he literally falls asleep when I talk softly and sing to him, and sometimes he will rub his little face up against my fingers when I press them through the cage. When I take him out of his cage and into a quiet enclosed room, he likes to perch on my shoulder and cuddle next to my neck. He enjoys snacking on cornbread, strawberry bits, green beans, or spaghetti noodles. Even though sometimes he can be a little stinker, I am pretty attached to the little guy.
The fact is, I enjoy birds. Regardless of the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name that could poison folks against them. Even if they expect me to keep the bird feeder full. Even when they peck me one minute and want me to rub their cheek the next. Birds serve many purposes in nature, in beauty, in friendship. Birds are wonderfully made. And if God knows each and every bird and cares deeply about them, then shouldn’t we as well? Consider the birds. Matthew 6:26 “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”
King James Version (KJV)