The birds need our helpSeptember 13, 2020
My family was very excited to have a little visitor on our screened patio the other morning. She is a golden finch and was very happy, flying around and teasing the indoor cats, causing each to pounce on the door or window startling us and causing the bird to take flight and then sing once landed, only to repeat the process in another moment or two.
I had twice become concerned that she was trapped, despite her perfect eyesight and happy song. The first time I stepped out, she would not let me get near but I put out a little bowl of fresh water and seeds as I often do in the back. I cooed and whistled in the same way I do when I am in the garden, making me friends with a pair of robins, a young blue jay, and a seasonal nesting pair of ground doves that visit me regularly. Then I returned inside.
The play and merriment continued and I never saw her eat or drink but did spot her near the bowls a few times. I thought to myself, who wants to be stared at while they eat and went on with my morning. The weather was windy and rainy, getting worse. I smiled thinking the little bird so clever to find shelter with food service. A while later I noticed the cats had lost interest but our friend was still out there. The weather had also improved so I became concerned again. This time I was allowed to get much closer, offering the end of Thea’s new staff. The tiny bird hopped on and off several times and would even let me move the stick a bit but would not let me guide her outside. I did not want her to feel chased so after a few tries and walking in and out of the open door while whistling and cooing as I did before. I headed back inside telling her not to fear she was safe and could take her time. A while later I realized she was gone. Though I was the only one to go outside, the kids enjoyed this experience very much.
Just Pure natural magick.
Many people don’t know that the songbird population is in steep decline. This is a sad loss. There are many factors at play and I encourage everyone to learn more about the problem if you wish. It’s a global problem and can be impacted by everyone everywhere.
To explore the problem consider starting with these resources: North America Has Lost Nearly 3 Billion Birds Since 1970 from Smithsonian shows the growing need for concern quite clearly. This documentary by PBS gives a good perspective on the scope of this issue. This article from the Encyclopedia Britannica: Silence of the Song Birds is excellent. Of course, Native Songbird Care & Conservation has plenty of information and resources if you would like to take a deep dive into the issue.
I love this relationship I have with the birds who feed on my flowers and caterpillars (among other bugs) in the various gardens. I only occasionally put out seeds as there is usually plenty in the gardens. This is a big problem but you and I, and everyone can impact with relatively little effort. Songbirds can and will happily live in human habitats areas. Many, as with me and my back yard birds, developing a friendship with humans.
You can create this magick in your life by providing space for these birds.
The first thing you can do is not… do not clean up the leaves and do not clean up the garden, allow flowers to go to seed and fruit to ripen and fall. allow the bugs that eat the leaves to do so – the birds will find them. I love planting sunflowers to do this. The birds and squirrels go crazy for this temporary food source. It is less work.
You can add a water source or a feeder of some kind. This is like having a pet. If you keep a clean water source or a feeder you need to do so one of two ways. Either intermittently, birds (and other animals) will check it but not depend on it. If you do it all the time, the animals will develop dependence and you will need to maintain it just as you would for a dog or cat. Either way, it is possible to attract mice, rats, and other unwanted guests. Managing this is dependent on your setup, but just be aware – if there is food they will come.
Plant landscape plants that benefit the birds in your area. This is all butterfly host plants as well as specific berries that animals love but people don’t consume. Check-in with the Audubon Society for guidance on what to plant.
Add to the magick with the Audubon Society to discover what type of birds are visiting you. If you’re interested, you can find out the meaning or the message of that animal with a little research.
What is the message of this little golden finch – Find out here!