Feeding the birds is a commitment I made decades ago. A way to give back to the earth; to honor a species that brings joy and song to my heart. While I’ve lived at the shore, my feeder has been visited primarily by Mourning Doves, House Sparrows, Finches, Cardinals and a squirrel. Large Herring Gulls, Laughing Gulls and Fish Crows will occasionally visit for the Sunflower seeds, too.
Sometimes I neglect to refill the feeder. Sometimes I deliberately stop filling it for few days to deter the squirrel, when it becomes too demanding: climbing up a deck chair to stare at me through the kitchen window or scolding me from the deck railing when the feeder hasn’t been filled in a timely manner. I don’t want a squirrel nesting under my car hood again.
After a few days of emptiness, I filled it to the brim Thanksgiving morning; the wildlife deserved to enjoy a feast, as well. I finished cooking and was reading before going to a gathering when a crow landed just outside my door and called loudly, three or four times, from my deck rail. Odd for it to perch so close to my door. It seemed significant. I listened with my heart to understand. It wasn’t an alarm, it felt definitive and intended for me to hear.
Later, I stepped out the door and found a small jingle shell on a deck slat, before me. I love jingle shells; I admired how it shone in the sunlight and couldn’t imagine how this delicate shell had landed on my deck. There was no wind. The fragile shell felt deliberately placed, like a gift. I picked it up to honor this feeling in my heart; noted how often stones have appeared at the top of the stairs to my deck and wondered, again, how they got up here. They’ve been too large to be stuck on my shoes, too heavy for a dove or song bird to carry. Often they ‘ve been in the feeder itself, it makes no sense for squirrel to do that.
Today, I watched a video pan over a variety of small gifts that a flock of crows had brought to a young girl who regularly fed them. As shiny beads, buttons and stones scrolled by, the connection was finally made. I had overlooked the obvious, but now the truth was known. My heart was touched; thanksgiving had come full circle.