I worked out in the garden this morning and felt so contented. All around me (and believe me, I don't live in the country this time of year) birds chittered, whistled, and called.
A sweet hermit thrush (one of my favorite birds) landed on the birdbath that once belonged to my Nonie Clarke (my mom's mother). The thrush held a brilliant red cotoneaster berry in his bill, and he gobbled it down and took a sip of water. A robin walked across our postage-stamp lawn, head cocked toward the ground and chuckling like a madman. Nearby, where the toyon hangs over my terrace, about 30 cedar waxwings keened and whistled as they gorged themselves on berries.
Paradise, that's how I felt. I am in Paradise. Then I stopped to consider what was happening around me. Most often, before looking up, I KNEW which birds were stopping for a visit. Through years of quiet observation, I've learned dozens of bird calls, but that is a drop-in-the-bucket compared to hard core birders.
To help Grannys and other child lovers learn about bird calls, I did a spread in my new book Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars and entitled it "BIRD WORDS." You'll get the drift when you look closely at the illustrations. I've also included many other hints to help you make the birds welcome in your garden and in your life.
So will you make me a promise? No matter where you live, no matter the season or the time of the day or night, stop, listen, and enjoy every second with the birds.