It is mid-summer and I have been waking up to the cheery call of a house finch. One bird begins chirping before the sun has cleared the horizon. More and more finches join this earliest riser and by the time the sun is fully risen, a great chorus of finches is chattering away telling each other their dreams. At least I like to think that is what they are singing about. They grace the day with their sweet complex songs, each of their melodies a variation on the house finch theme.
This is not a new occurrence – it happens every year. The birds are pretty quiet throughout the coldest months, but soon after the winter equinox when the dark time is over, the finches begin to sing.
House finches are ubiquitous in suburbia. So much so that people don’t actually take note of them. They are small birds with mottled brown and gray plumage. The males are marked with a wash of red on their heads and chests, which becomes quite brilliant during mating season. Otherwise they are unremarkable. They flit around nervously in the trees and shrubs and around buildings, making only the briefest of appearances to passers by.
I was recently on a walk through the neighborhood with an acquaintance. House finches were all around us in the front yards of our neighborhoods, but when I mentioned them to my companion she said, “Oh, I never really noticed them.”
I know this is not unusual. I venture to say that most people who are rushing through their daily lives do not notice birds; especially the little dickey birds.
Taking but a moment to notice a wild bird or any other of the wild creatures in our backyards or neighborhoods, doesn’t cost a thing. It does not constitute idleness to be distracted for a moment by bird song or bee buzz or owl hoot or coyote call or red fox yelp or prairie dog chirp. For just that moment we are made aware of another kind of life that shares our world with us. We are enriched my these small blessings.