The birds disappeared this winter. Seed sat in the feeder uneaten and the cats gave up on checking the view from the front window. But the noisy flock of grackles came back within the past week or so as did a pair of mourning doves. To Cloud’s delight some sparrows came to the bush outside the kitchen window and I scattered seed which disappeared so they must have come back. I usually go through a couple of large bags of seed but not this year. I didn’t see birds next door either and I noticed the neighbor had stopped filling some of her feeders. I was afraid I was going to see a silent spring.
But the noisy flock of grackles came back within the past week or so as did a pair of mourning doves. To Cloud’s delight some sparrows came to the bush outside the kitchen window and I scattered seed which disappeared so they must have come back again later. Now in the morning I can hear birdsong as the sunrises and breath a sigh of relief. Rachel Carson’s book came out in 1957 and when I ask people if they have heard of it they say no. Like the legend of the ring in Tolkien’s mythology, the impact of DDT has faded from memory. In the words of Galadriel “some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.” Comparing the rampant chemical proliferation to the spreading dark evil of Sauron might seem melodramatic but I don’t think so. In spite of the ban on DDT we continue to to play Dr. Frankenstein with chemicals and now even with the code of life itself, DNA. So I pay attention when the world of nature behaves in unusual ways. I don’t know where the birds went or why but it worried me.
I’m sure there are millions of people out there who don’t care about the birds. It’s one reason our world is so stressed and hostile. There is a mountain of evidence that living in an artificial environment is stressful and that one of the best ways to de-stress and regain good health is to connect with the natural world. The days are slowly becoming warmer and I am able to spend more time outside. I enjoy it so much. A few warm days and my front garden beds are full of jonquils. The squirrels watch from the big tree as I rake out the leaves I blanketed them with last fall, hoping I’ll turn up something they buried and forgot. I am on the lookout for the happy couple who have come to my yard each year that I have not yet seen. I always get a nesting pair of cardinals, with their cheerful calls and plumage. When they arrive I will truly be able to say the birds have returned.
Update: I may have seen a female cardinal this past week, visibility was poor in the rain, but I was quite certain about the robins on the front lawn. I heard that distinct chickadee call, too, although I didn’t see it’s author. Usually they are here all winter. Where were you hiding little one?