Why I Watch The Birds

I’m a person who wakes right up in morning.  I brew a cup of coffee and get going.  Since I work at home, I can head in many directions before I’ve had my first cup.  This is especially true if I get online first thing, before taking a pause to start the day.

Why pause? I sound rather motivated right off the bat, so why not get stuff done.  I create my “to do” list the night before, so I should start checking off tasks, right?

That is not what happens.  If I get on the Internet first thing, I am distracted. I might be reading articles on WordPress development that do not fit into my schedule for the day.  I might watch a video that I actually do not have time for at all.  Conversations could develop on Facebook that are fun but not what I had planned for that morning.  I am already off track.

If I am having an anxious morning, thinking about bills, unfinished projects or something one of my kids is going through, it is hard for me to concentrate.  I can feel overwhelmed rather easily.  A counselor suggested meditation first thing in the morning.

It is not easy for me to sit still.  I might be able to meditate after an hour-long yoga workout, but as a practice, it has never been something I have been able to cultivate.

BirdwatchingThis is why, in the winter, I watch the birds.

Instead of going gangbusters first thing, I grab my coffee and sit in front of the big sliding glass door at our house.  I don’t bring my ipad or any technology.  I may have a notebook or my knitting, but the actual goal is to sit and watch the birds.

They fly in, land, and look around. Their heads move in short jerky motions on a constant lookout.  Some land on a tree above the bird feeders and sharpen their beaks.  Others fly right in, grab some seed, and are gone.

It’s like an airport here.  A cardinal will watch from a distant tree, waiting for his turn.

Sometimes a squirrel will appear, hog the table for an entire day, scaring away the birds, but then he or she will be gone.

Other times I will get out the big birding book my mom gave Richard years ago and try to identify the birds.  I might take photos or video.

If I am lucky, I won’t do much other than sit.  It is both easy and hard to do.

The birds help our marriage.  I could be bickering at Richard and suddenly he will notice a new type of bird at the feeder.  This is cause for pause.  We both might watch for a moment to see how the new bird acts.  Earlier in the winter, we had these “serenity” birds.  They were not as paranoid as all the other birds.  They stayed and calmly pecked the sides of the feeder for much longer periods than our other visitors.  They didn’t look around as much.  If there were a bird happiness scale, I would say this type was high on the list.

I am trying to be like the serenity birds and sit for a few minutes each morning.  It helps me stay focused throughout the day.  I might stop in the middle of the day and sit again with my husband.  He is equally interested in the birds and likes to joke around about what they are doing.  We have our coffee together and it is a nice break.

Birdwatching with Richard

When spring comes, we stop feeding the birds. We hear them singing throughout our yard, many different beautiful sounds. I might fire up the grill, or sit in the sun, and listen for a long, long time.


  1. I recently watched The Birds, the one by Hitchcock. Terrifying! Still, after all these years that movie is very disturbing. Unlike your post which evoked feelings of peace and calm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *