August 23, 2017: Backyard Neighbors

~by Louis Templeman

After planting Zinnia seeds in 24 little demitasse-sized fiber pots I walked into my kitchen. Through the window I spied a little dowdy grey bird hunkered down on the shady side of my bird feeder. He is the first one I have seen dining in this new year. Last year between February and September my backyard was a community center for scores of birds – titmouse, chickadee, downy woodpecker, hummingbirds, doves, grosbeaks and cardinals, to name a few.

It was delightful entertainment for Joy and me to sit at the dining room table and watch them through our windows. However since before Thanksgiving there have been mostly nothing with rare sightings of single cardinal or titmouse and once a couple of dove.

One day I saw a chickadee and a titmouse. The tiny black and white chickadee was spooked away by a single titmouse who wanted his perch. There are eight perches on the feeders. Must have been a personal issue. Except towards this young – and only while a fledgling – birds do not come across as good neighbors.

The little one in the shade was dining in. Titmice and chickadees eat and run. The dove take-out. But this common finch was in no hurry I took this as a good sign – an omen that soon there will be a repeat performance for the next eight months.

I walked over to the sink and looked out the kitchen window I saw another finch. His head was a brilliant purple. Perhaps, these two are a pair. I hope we have a lot of happy little families nesting in this area.

After seeing these common finches I thought of their dandy cousins. The goldfinch. Last year between February and June I had plenty. One day I counted twenty on the feeder and on the ground. So, I got my thistle seed feeder and hung it on the wrought iron shepherds staff ornament opposite the sunflower seed feeder.

Consider the birds of the field, Jesus instructs us. Even the common sparrow, he says, is seen by his Father. It just occurs to me that my joy of watching birds can speak to God’s joy of watching the whole of his creation. That of course includes me. I am having a lot of struggles lately. It is comforting to know the great Caregiver is in touch with me. It is a good message I receive from my little friends.

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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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