Last Sunday my brother and his wife and I went to a local park to do a little birdwatching. It is a place that is known for the friendly chickadees that will feed right out of your hand. When we first arrived, there wasn’t a bird in sight, and the woods were silent.
So we walked a little further down the trail, then stopped and filled our hands with seed, held them straight out from our bodies, and waited. It only took about a minute before 4 or 5 chickadees arrived, and another few seconds before they decided that we were friendly enough to be trusted.
Many photos were snapped, although most of them weren’t that great, the chickadees were quick! But we laughed a lot, and it was very cool to actually hold a chickadee. They weigh almost nothing, if you weren’t looking, you would not even know they were there.
After a few moments, several other little friends joined the group hovering in the trees above us. There were cardinals, a titmouse or two, and a cute little downy woodpecker fluttering about, all too shy to get up close and personal.
But then the little red-breasted nuthatch in this photo showed up and he was more than willing to pose for a photo, several times. Isn’t he so cute? He looks quite like a chickadee, but the most distinctive thing about the nuthatch is that they will creep downwards along tree trunks and branches, head first.
Later, we visited the small wildlife refuge on the property, they rescue birds that have been injured and can no longer survive in the wild. We saw two red-tailed hawks, a peregrine falcon, a crow, a snowy owl, and a bald eagle, among others. Unfortunately, pictures aren’t allowed inside the shelter, but I understood why. It was amazing to be so close to such amazing birds.
My favorite was a little saw-whet owl who blinked each eye separately and kept turning his head away from us, as if to say, “please don’t look at me.” He made me smile.
It was a simple morning spent doing simple things.
And it was wonderful.
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