My Morning Soundtrack
Before I plug in, I meditate on the wonders of the natural world. All I need to do is stand at the kitchen window.
By Susan Forker
I’ve developed a slight obsession. With birds.
Between a feeder we installed last spring outside our kitchen window (last year’s Mother’s Day gift) and another, larger one that went up this spring (this year’s Mother’s Day gift), we seem to have created a thriving haven on our patio. Every morning, no matter the time of year, there’s a constant flurry of activity and birdsong. I’ve come to start my days watching for a while from the other side of the window, coffee in hand.
I’ve managed to start identifying some of them: the tufted titmouse, catbirds and Carolina chickadees, all uniquely fascinating in their mannerisms and singing. The tiny downy woodpecker, with the graphic black-and-white pattern of his feathers punctuated by a bright slash of red down the back of his head, used to drill at the delicious seasoned wood of our barn siding with a loud rat-a-tat-tat. He now appears favor the fancy suet cakes that we put out for him. That may just be wishful thinking, though. And there’s a red-breasted house finch who we nicknamed “Bullybird” because he scares away every other bird that lands on the feeder while he’s eating.
My favorite guests, though, have to be the cardinal couple, which I’ve never seen apart. It’s the male, I’ve come to learn, who boasts the iconic deep red and the beardlike markings around the beak. The female’s more of a tawny, pinkish-brown. I often find the pair perched in the shrubs for many minutes at a time, seemingly content to watch the world go by like an old, married couple. Once, I convinced myself that I even saw them kissing. I did a little research and found out that the males will feed their partners seeds beak to beak during courtship and mating, and most cardinals will stay together for life. How sweet!
The detritus of seeds and sunflower hulls litter our patio, and the squirrels are usually lurking in nearby bushes for a chance to steal from the feeder. No matter. It’s all worth it for the songbirds. I’m getting a little better at distinguishing their calls, but, for the most part, they still blur into one sprawling composition. Or what I’ve come to consider my morning soundtrack.
Susan Forker is the owner and designer of the Doylestown-based joeyfivecents, a line of one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories.