On Birds

I heard on the radio that a new study reports that watching birds for a short period of time can lower a human being’s stress level by almost 90 percent during the moment of observation. I know this study’s finding to be completely true in my life.

Pelicans, gulls, hummingbirds, chickadees, finches, bald eagles, crows, morning doves, sandpipers, sanderlings, barn and sea swallows, ravens, robins, cormorants, blue herons, geese. Even those pesky terns!

I’ve communed with all these birds in recent months. I’ve spent hours observing them and tossing them bits of breakfast. Many of those encounters have been documented on this blog. My bird metaphors are alive and well. Birds are flying with and through me.

I never really paid attention to birds until I moved to the Oregon Coast. I never noticed their individuality. I would have never tattooed birds on my upper arm. I would have never truly appreciated Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle.”

It must be terrible to live where there are no birds to notice or people don’t notice birds. One has to believe that current politicians don’t notice birds. If they did, our country might be a lot different.

I once saw a standoff between a raven and squirrel. It was over fast food fries and the remains of a kale shake! They really stared each other down and squawked their respective blustering noises. Eventually, they settled up and each got something.

A hummingbird just whizzed by as I wrote this. They somehow find sustenance in the dead flowers of fall.

I once owned a Western shirt with birds on it. I got rid of it. I want it back.

What are the birds in your lives? I’d like to live in a home that attracts many more birds than the one I own now. Too many cats around.

My ex-wife was a woman of ravens and owls. Those were her birds. I once saw her rescue a tiny burrowing owl who knocked himself out by flying into our living room window. The owl came to his senses in a shoe box full of cotton and then flew away into the sky.

I put together a writing workshop called Birds and Metaphors. I haven’t taught it in ten years. It’s time to dust it off.

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