Thursday, January 3, 2013

birds of the year

Charlie at his station
We had a very unceremonial finding of our birds this year, as New Year's morning was also the morning we were saying goodbye to our family.  The girls put down the shade in the kitchen, next to the birdfeeder, so they wouldn't see any "normal" birds, but when I asked what they were hoping for they said, "Condors!"  I will admit that I was hoping for something a little more spectacular than what I got (a house sparrow), and was feeling optimistic, since we've had nuthatches, cardinals, a carolina wren, a red-bellied woodpecker and an interesting inter-species duo of a chickadee and a titmouse at our little feeders outside our kitchen window. But something caught my eye as I was mixing up a batch of pancakes and there they were - a small flock of fluffed-up sparrows in our neighbor's crepe myrtle.

My brother-in-law asked Ani why we look for our birds of the year, and she said, "because it's a new year! That's why!"  Well, she's right, it's just what our family does each year, but I'd say that we also think about those birds and form a connection to them through the year that starts with them showing up in the winter and us noticing.

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." 
John Muir

I found this quote on a site (there are many such sites with similar information) that is filled with information about animal totems or spirit guides, and I was drawn to discover what our birds of the year might offer us if we look to them as guiding forces in these first days.

the starlings are back
Dan and I both found sparrows.  Actually we gave him an out, as he had the sparrow last year, but he happily embraces the hardy little sparrow, which is what our niece Lucy spotted as well.  We all congratulated ourselves on seeing the most rugged of the little winter birds; I read in several places that the little sparrow reminds us to have dignity and self-worth.

Sparrow aids in opening the eyes to our self-worth and instills dignity and empowerment. He teaches the importance of voice and communication and the timing of exertion and retreat. It is time to sing your song in all that you do. Sparrow teaches cooperation and sharing responsibilities whether at home or work. Are you helping or should you be helping or working more in some area of your life? Sparrow aids in survival instincts by sharpening intuition to make proper choices. He will bring to awareness any old tendencies so that you can realize the newer more conducive means of being. Sparrow teaches assertion so that you may survive in spite of any circumstances with a balance of joy and empowerment.  (Animal Totems Dictionary of Birds)

I had no idea there would be so much to consider as I follow my sparrow guide into the new year...What jumps out at me in particular is the bit about surviving..."any circumstances with a balance of joy and empowerment."

Eliza saw a cardinal -

Cardinal Medicine renews vitality in life and returns joy, brilliance and balance to the mind, body and spirit. He awakens spiritual transformations, intellectual insights and heightens intuitions and perceptions. Cardinal aids in manifesting dreams and ideas by focussing intentions where it's needed. He adds color and balance to life and demonstrates that everything you do is important. He aids in understanding and helping you find your own song in life. Are you doing what needs to be done or should be done? Pay attention to your diet. Are you eating balance meals; too much or not enough? Cardinal can teach moderation in all things and can help in finding a healthy balance of physical and spiritual. Do you have enthusiasm for a project or idea? Are you voicing your ideas? Are you listening carefully to others and your surroundings. When you listen to Cardinal's lessons, he will teach you strength in creativity and productivity with discernment and balance. (Animal Totems Dictionary of Birds)

Ani struggled first with not wanting to see "just any bird" and then with the frustration of there being no birds to see when she finally sprinkled some feed in the back yard and hunkered down with the cats to watch.  I called her downstairs a while later when there was a sweet titmouse at our kitchen feeder...

Cheerful, bird of truth, mind mysteries, joy, heals/balances/opens perceptions, teaches about voicing impressions and expressions. Titmouse teaches to use our voice and the immense power of small things and with small ideas. Titmouse teaches courage and empowerment along with being bold with discernment. A natural curiosity awakens your senses and surroundings. Pay attention to social settings. He teaches the art of flexibility. Are you sharing your thoughts and opinions right now? Titmouse can show how to express ideals with timing. (same!)

So there you go. Our bird guides for 2013.  Ani wanted to know if they were like guide dogs, leading people if you see a seven year old being lead by a titmouse, you'll know it's Anika...


Anonymous said...

What a great way to welcome in the New Year! My feeder is empty and you have inspired me to fill it up and watch for not only which birds come to visit, but what wisdom and energy come to visit!

Katy Kropf

merry said...

I sat in church yesterday watching 2 pair of 'my' bird, the beautiful,bright red cardinal!! Yay!