Communing with the Cardinal and Joe- Life Lessons from a Bird-Feeder


I've always had a special love of birds. Could it be their range of colors? Their delicate music? Or an evolutionary connection? They find their way into my art, my toys and now more than ever into my backyard. We finally installed a decent bird-feeder, a diner of sorts that serves many at a time, and my life as Snow White has become more about my newest haircolor. Every morning before I heigh-ho I look into the yard to see which visitors have joined us for breakfast, and every morning I seem to witness something I've probably always known but for which I am thankful for the reminder.


  • Yes, we can all get along. Finches, robins, cardinals, squirrels, a baby bunny and even a deer enjoy the fruits of our feeder, and they might bicker a little every now and then but we have a community of little friends that are practicing their social skills and working toward a common purpose. (I know, right? A deer came to visit our urban yard earlier this week.)
  • There is enough for everyone if we work together. Our little feeder is such a microcosm. What would happen to hunger in our city, in our country, in our world, if we actively reminded ourselves that we have the capability to ensure that every person is fed? Would we hoard and waste? Or would we change our own habits? Would we live simply so others might simply live?
  • The early bird really gets the (big, juicy) worm. Really. The robins are up at dawn to dig in the moist soil in order to provide for themselves and for their families. Sure sleeping late might feel like a luxury, but why bother? The chirping wakes me anyway. Let's get busy- there's lots to do (see solving world-hunger above) and this mama-bird is awake.
  • Slow down and smell the coffee. I sometimes catch myself trying to rush through my morning peek at the feeder and then am reminded that this planet and its flora and fauna are amazing. It deserves my full attention, if even for a moment. And when I slow down enough to hear the individual bird-songs, I find that I can really relish in the aroma of the coffee awaiting me downstairs, all of which reminds me to breathe and to be very, very grateful for every little thing.
  • Give a little, get a lot. Sure, refilling the bird-feeder is another task on the to-do list, but it pays us back in so many ways. Every time a cardinal (two mates and their young have moved in) is spotted in the morning, the remainder of the day is stellar. Why? Maybe it's the lucky color red. I don't need to figure it out. It just is.
If you need me this fine morning, on World Environment Day, it will have to wait just a bit as I'll be communing with the cardinal and joe.