the miraculous, every day in winter, not 15 feet from my window


To the Editor:

Re “The Solace of Birds in Winter” (Op-Ed, Dec. 15): I am smitten with my backyard birds. What is it about the industrious little souls leaping delicately about my tray feeder that so lifts the spirit? Their spunk? Their equanimity no matter the weather? The variety in their eating habits?

Mourning doves plunk themselves down in the center of the tray to chow down. The red-bellied woodpecker grips the edge and won’t yield his position. The chickadees and nuthatches take a seed each, one at a time, to a nearby branch to nibble.

A chickadee weighs less than half an ounce. Its coat of feathers, half an inch thick, keeps its tiny body at about 90 degrees even when the air temperature is zero. It is this, then, that takes my breath away and is the source of my affection — the miraculous, every day in winter, not 15 feet from my window.

Margaret McGirr
Greenwich, Conn.

New York Times, Letters, December 17, 2018

Photo: Project Feeder Watch titled “See Red” by Stephen & Judy Shelasky, Longmeadow, MA. 4 male Cardinals, a Red-bellied Woodpecker and a little sparrow checking out a female Cardinal as she flies into view.


  1. their beauty, sense of order, and calm are something to behold

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Miracles everywhere – living, breathing ones

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Views from the Edge.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sitting here in Minnesota, far from Indianapolis where a best friend is in slow recovery from surgery, these birds dispelled the worry and brought the wonder of it all back to my morning coffee.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Your words Gordon, made me pause – they bring the peace and beauty of this passage alive. Thanks for sharing.


      • It’s in the “pauses” that peace and beauty come. (Jung)

        Liked by 3 people

        • Yes! And,

          Pause practice can transform each day of your life. It creates an open doorway to the sacredness of the place in which you find yourself. The vastness, stillness,and magic of the place will dawn upon you, if you let your mind relax and drop for just a few breaths the story line you are working so hard to maintain. If you pause just long enough, you can reconnect with exactly where you are, with the immediacy of your experience.  Just do it over and over and over. Allow a gap, gap, gap. Allow yourself the space to realize where you are. Realize how big your mind is.

          ~Pema Chodron, from “Take Three Conscious Breaths” (Lion’s Roar, April 2, 2017) 

          Liked by 5 people

  5. Watching the birds from the kitchen window is our daily pleasure. They are very active this year now that we feed them year round!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Nature never ceases to amaze me … simply wonderful! Much needed solace!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I was a feeder watcher-photographer about ten years ago. It was the most relaxing period of my life and I scored some beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good reminder to fill up our feeders!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I would so love to have feeders but fear the birds would become food for my cats… or horribly deformed “playthings”…
    When my mother lived up north, she had feeders for all birds, including hummingbirds. I would sit on the porch watching them and feel all tension disappear.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This GOTTA BE the BEST Christmas Letter of this year!!! How beautifully described and that photo – the riot of colours, joie-de-vivre, beauty, life!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I am lucky enough to sit at a desk in my apartment looking out over the Carquinez Strait (Northern Cal), and see hawks and seagulls soaring on the drafts, as well as assorted other birds on the ground hopping around; but its those hawks and gulls soaring that absolutely make me pause and wonder at the freedom and lightness of their being. Miracles in the sky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, amazing Angeline. We need to make a road trip to check it all out! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Angeline, so wonderful that you have a front row view of a living estuary! I love tidal march areas…I bet you’ve seen some large ships…I had some friends who lived in that area in American Canyon,(he commuted into SF every work day near the SF International Airport, he is an architect) though they moved to Texas last year. I never did visit American Canyon in Napa county & I’ve always wanted to visit Pittsburgh, CA too…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I have a feeder right outside my livingroom window, and I watch the birds more than I watch TV. There’s a feeder and two bird seed piles in the back yard that I keep full and yellow . There is one red cardinal that visits my front feeder…beauty in nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Such a breathtaking image! My mother spoke of watching the Cardinals when they lived on the East Coast. I’ve never had the pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. We walked along the river twice last week and then along the mid-level mountain trails, we came down along a stream that forks and winds…when were were nearing the end of the trail a women is walking solo with her cell phone on listening to some app on birds sounds, i thought hmm…that is a different experience I am sure…I just watch & listen to the abundant birds out along the trails…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Magnificient.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: