Monday, November 5, 2012

The cheerful music that surrounds me

Around the church there is always chatter, birds flitting from tree to bush to deck to feeder, to bush carrying on a continual comment on the days activities, or perhaps the quality of the seed that I've put out. There is a group of house sparrows that set up housekeeping in several of the trees and bushes immediately closest to my home.

When I first purchased the church there were only about a dozen of these cheerful little birds. They were soon joined by white throat sparrows, white crowned sparrows, American tree sparrows, and other little birds who discovered free lunch - well free day long buffet to be truthful. They don't have to work hard for it.

They have been joined by others - most recently a flock of pine siskins visited for a week or more. And then there are the year round residents - purple and house finches, gold finches and chickadees. Other regulars include the raucous watchdogs of all bird flocks - the blue jays, the bustling little chickadees - among my favourite birds - and the woodpeckers who insist on decorating my drive shed and the much-in-need of fresh-paint sides of my church with many series of holes. There are two kinds (woodpeckers, not holes) - a couple of pairs of large, voracious and noisy hairy woodpeckers who chase all birds except the blue jays away and two or three pairs of shy downies, who though ubiquitous, aren't nearly so bossy as their older cousins. In winter they are joined by any number of members of the family of red-bellied woodpeckers that seem to visit only in late fall through to late spring.

Also in winter the white-breasted  nuthatches visit. There is a cocky pair that delights in hiding from me whenever I appear at the deck door. They quickly retreat behind the tree trunk, upside down of course, and peek out to see when I'll leave.

All in all there is usually some sound of nature - some sort of conversation or song going on. Have you stopped when you step outside your door to listen? What do you hear when you stand still for a moment? Is it the extraordinarily cheerful dee-dee-dee of a chickadee? The continuous gossip of a sparrow family, the shriek of a jay warning of an overhead predator, or a ground-bound one?

Or is it the continuous roar of traffic punctuated by a child's call or a dog barking? A cat's meow, the wing-sound of a flock of birds rising from a road as a car passes? The hiss of tires on pavement, footsteps of a passing jogger?

Whatever it is there is always music in the sounds we can hear outside our homes - if we but take the time to listen. At least that's the way I hear it - enjoy your day and may you hear music.


  1. It is as if you have described a virtual symphony that we all can hear. A marvelous piece of writing here Barbara, one of your best. It is quiet here, a pileated woodpecker in the distance, a lone chickadee, a raven about a quarter mile away expressing displeasure with an unannounced visitor. It is too early to feed the birds here, the bears are still about, and we don't want to lure them in too near our hounds who would delight in putting them up a tree. Nice, nice post!

  2. Thank you for the compliment Bill - one of my sons (also a Bill) said "yes always music if you listen!" and he lives in Toronto. High up - so I was pleased that he hears it too... soon the bears will be turned in for winter, and that raven - are you sure he's displeased or wants someone to talk to? I have a pair of ravens that give me a throaty good morning as they pass by every day, they answer when I call back to them.
    Again thanks for your very kind words. Much appreciated.