I don’t want to tell you how much of our retirement fund goes for bird seed. Not to mention bird feeders, suet and the containers to put it in, hummer feeders (and sugar for it — we make our own not-red ‘nectar’), etc. Thankfully my husband is a birdophile too.
Each spring it’s fascinating to watch as the fledglings learn to fly, and begin to frequent the feeders. Beginning last year, we have baby woodpeckers. Who knew they were sooo silly when they first start hunting food?? They will peck at ANY upright: a bird feeder hook (even a cast-iron one!), a post, the side of a hummingbird feeder… Not your brightest bulbs as they learn to shine.
This year, for the first time, we had a young blue jay. In competition w/ his parent (impossible to tell Mom from Dad, at least w/out a group; even the experts agree), he has been eating at the seed cylinder. Which has been so much fun to watch. Jays are big enough to shoulder off the darn starlings (we don’t encourage them, but we don’t do anything mean to keep them away), which is great. Somehow watching a jay eat is a lot more interesting than watching starlings war for turf.
Now the baby jay is gone, the victim of either an elderly, crippled cat (really — she’s 11, and limps badly), or a French bulldog with no good sense. And yes, I know a bird that can’t fly away from an old gimpy cat or a short, asthmatic dog, isn’t good evolutionary material. But still — my husband & I are grieving for a single wild bird, in the face of all the tragedy throughout our state. We returned to its passing over the course of the day ~ so sad about the baby jay… I wonder if it was Hugo or Sophie?…it’s just so SAD.
Somehow, the jay is immediate, tangible. Even though friends of mine have been impacted measurably — ranging from inconvenience to losing all they possess — I find myself mourning this nameless bird. Whom we knew for only a few weeks.
Everything passes, I know. I say it to myself frequently: a kind of Buddhist mantra. And when tragedy strikes friends or family, it’s my go-to self-comforting chant: this will pass this will pass. As did the blue jay, his navy & indigo and cerulean blue feathers scattered in confusion around his limp body. And I’m very very sorry.