Why the Bird Sings


With the freshest dawn he swoops in
The red cardinal and sings his songs
Sometimes I forget to listen and think:
is he singing of restlessness or happiness?
Then quickly he is gone
And I am still thinking
While the whole crew moves in,
the white-breasted nuthatch
up to something, skipping head down,
hiding seeds in bark crevices
The red-bellied woodpecker
And the black-capped chickadee eyeing one another
Stashing away, just in case, just in case

The goldfinch, not much gold,
Looking more like pine siskin this time of year
Spring sun will spill gold onto his feathers
For now, he’s surviving on golden sunflowers
And when the migratory sand clock tips
And pours all the travelers back here
Red-winged blackbirds noisily
Will carry summer’s heat on their wings

These birds are my thoughts
They fly in from nowhere, slow and quick
If I give them ample space
They cohabit peacefully and glide
Even heavier ones upturn their pointy tails
Yet it is that little fire ball,
The red cardinal, the flicker of the heart
first one to light up the morning
and last to leave at dusk
When I stop asking why this bird sings
I whistle the tune together
And color white January days
in red burning flames around the edges


I am thankful to David George Haskell for the ‘sand clock image’ of bird migrations, which was posted on his latest blog post here. Someone mentioned it looking like a lava lamp, but I thought it was more of a sand clock that flips every fall and spring. Check it out, it is very neat.



Β ~~~



About BeeHappee

Where have all the bees gone? Where have all the flowers gone? https://beehappeenow.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Nature, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Why the Bird Sings

  1. gatheringplaceseasonfour says:

    for us, the male (gold finch) has quite the bright yellow, females much less so (as in your poetry). We have been putting out a block of suet, pileated (pecker wood) frequently visits. With 20 inches and more of snow fall in one or two days, we also saw a return of the red-tail hawk! Hope the bird takes one of the feral cats.

    • BeeHappee says:

      The hawk has to eat. We looked for bald eagles at the canyons over the weekend, but did not see one close up, but they are strong here around the rivers. Goldfinches molt, females are duller all year, but males get dull in winter too. Maybe it is different in your climate.

  2. Great post! πŸ™‚ I’ve been giving the goldfinches and other birds in the yard a lot of seed. It’s been nasty cold at night. Rough on them!

  3. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    I love this, Bee. I so love the birds too. I wish we had cardinals here. I grew up with them, and miss them out here. We do have all the others you mentioned. Your words are beautiful, Kristina.
    I love how they metaphor your thoughts.

  4. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    How the birds metaphor your thoughts.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you for your words, Mary. As I was growing up, we did not have cardinals in Lithuania, so they are a real treat to me here, to me they look so exotic! I do miss the red legged storks that fly back to Lithuania in spring and nest all summer.
      I am sending you some cardinal love then from frozen Illinois. πŸ™‚

  5. NeoNoah says:

    Bet Rachel Carson had you worried too, my daughter is named after her…

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thanks, Noah. Rachel Carson’s work is perhaps having positive impact now, half a century after her death. It is trully amazing to see the bald eagles come back, after DDT had wiped them out almost completely. I think I saw we now have aboput 300 nests in Illinois and it is the second largest population in the USA after Alaska.

      • Scott says:

        Cool stuff. Apparently we have a small population near a large lake here in KY. My neighbor saw one perched in a large tree just behind his house.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Hey, Noah, I just watched “The Kingdom of Survival”. Interesting. Can see you sitting with Mike Oehler in Idaho. πŸ™‚ Thank you for the recommend!

  6. shoreacres says:

    I saw that animated migration map. It’s really neat. And I’m a great lover of cardinals, too. We kept them all winter in Iowa, and they were such bright spots against the snow. Not only that, our school teams were called the Cardinals. Once, there was a snow cardinal in our front yard.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Ok, Linda, that snow bird is larger than the house, you could live inside of it!!!! πŸ™‚ Let me take a wild guess, your adventurous dad had something to do with it? The cardinals definitely seem the loudest this time of year, I can hear them through double windows.
      Do Catholic Cardinals wear red outfits to match the birds or is it vice versa?

  7. Michael says:

    We seem to lose the gold finches here in winter. It is the domain of the cardinals, the chickadees and the junco’s. I love to look out and find the sea of white punctuated by the orbs of red– the cardinals tucked here and there. One blizzard we counted something like ten in the same hedge, taking turns at the feeder. It never ceases to amaze me that birds survive the winter. I don’t understand it and I don’t need to. I just love being witness to their magic…


  8. BeeHappee says:

    Thank you, Michael. I appreciate your stopping by and adding a note. I will work my best on trying to not ask so much as to why why and how and when, and just witness the magic. Perhaps one day then I will see Hafiz zoom in with the cardinals to the bird feeders. πŸ™‚

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