Saturday, December 15, 2018

Birds Offer Hope During Winter

Comfort of Song

Winter Sparrows on Tree Branches.

A beautifully written opinion piece (“The Solace of Birds in Winter;” December 15, 2018), by Margaret Renkl, in today's New York Times captures my sentiments; Renkl, who lives in Tennessee, writes:
In the search for comfort in the face of so many 21st-century dangers — to democracy in the age of fake news, to the natural world in the age of climate change — I don’t normally think of winter as offering much in the way of consolation.
Many of the most interesting creatures have gone to ground now. The cheery chipmunks are asleep in their tunnels beneath my house. The queen bumblebees have made themselves a little sleeping chamber deep in the soil of my garden. Somewhere nearby, the resident rat snake is also sleeping underground, and, at the park, the snapping turtles and bullfrogs have settled themselves into the mud at the bottom of the lake.
All the loveliest insects are gone now, too. The honeybees are huddled up in their hives, vibrating their wings to keep warm and feeding on the honey they’ve stored for just this reason. The monarch butterflies have long since migrated to their Mexican wintering grounds. My flower beds are nothing but a jumble of dried stems and matted clumps, a collection of dead vegetation I’ve left undisturbed for my tiniest neighbors to shelter in. But even remembering the purpose behind this untidiness, I take no comfort from my garden anymore.
But there are the odd winter birds who remain, local birds who never leave, loyal to the area, like the sparrows (Passer domesticus) in our neighbourhood. Yesterday was a grey rainy day here in Toronto, the kind that makes you feel sad. Then, at a local shopping mall of all places, I heard birds chirping, singing—sparrows. Loudly and joyfully. It was beautifully inspiring and my mood quickly changed. I recommend that you read the complete article [here].

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